Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 226


Coffee:  Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

I had a bit of good whiskey. I was buying a bottle for a co-worker who’s getting promoted to a different branch, but when I picked up the first bottle it seemed unconscionable to leave it lonely so I bought another for myself. Knob Creek Bourbon, not the best I’ve had, but easily some of the better. It paired just perfect with my homemade thrown-together sandwich and cheap tortilla chips.

There was a long time of my life where drinking scared me. Maybe it still does, and I’m just more attracted to being scared. Up until 21 I hadn’t had a drop of liquor. You could say I was a stick in the mud. Really, I was trying to be perfect. I figured life was less about being free and happy than about a kind of measured asceticism. I guided my ideas on the hard hand of law.

I take my bourbon over ice. I like the way it changes as the melt goes down. The first sips are pungent, going to your head like a steam-cleaner. In the middle it starts to mellow. And in the end you’re drinking easy, palm trees, or Savannah moss. It’s a depressive experience, bringing you down, down, until your fingers and toes touch, until you see the soil under you, and know who’s dead and buried, which bones are family, and which bones your family put there. Melancholy like home movies. Antiquated, a VHS.

I saw someone break down today. I don’t know what caused it, I didn’t ask. ‘What’s wrong’ is a question for later. Instead, when we met eyes, while she was half-crying and hurrying to get her things together, rushing away from something intangible, I did my best to smile at her. Hell if I know if she noticed, or if she appreciated it. But it was the best thing I could think to do at the time.

There’s only air the glass now. I’ve gone and done it, drunk the whole shot.

Here’s what I’d say to my younger self: sometimes people cry and you’ll have no clue what they’re crying about. Other times, you’ll see the circuitry pumping out societal problems at an alarming pace. I wish life had a beautiful order, but it doesn’t. The beauty hides in the creases.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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Deep in the human unconscious is a pervasive need for a logical universe that makes sense. But the real universe is always one step beyond logic.

Frank Herbert, Dune

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 27


Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

For two minutes in the cutting 7pm cold, I saw a long-haired white and black cat. It was sitting on some stones.

I had dinner at a Thai restaurant. Spicy curry. It was full of carrots and snap peas. Who puts carrots and snap peas in their curry?

This afternoon, I looked at the dishwasher and saw it was full. I considered making it empty. I’ve got dishes to put in. In the end, I didn’t do anything other than look at it.

My brain isn’t screwed in right. I’ve been working, writing. I’ve been successful. I’ve spent time with friends. I’ve gotten drinks with coworkers. I’ve walked in the rain and watched black crows take cover. I’ve done the things I love. I’m not at all happy. It’s a weird feeling. Admitting it feels weirder. But I think it’s important to be honest about uncomfortable things, otherwise no-one else will feel comfortable being honest about uncomfortable things.

You could call it depression.

Novel Count: 30,740

Currently Reading: The Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the Border – RAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

On a bare branch a crow is perched – autumn evening


Coffee Log, Day 116


Coffee: Americano, Caribou Coffee; It was ok. I wanted to drink it at the cafe but there were no parking spaces. Not many coffee shops open on a Sunday in Cary.

I knew J as the girl in high school who was aware of being beautiful but hadn’t figured out what to do with it. I imagine she’s a woman now, living a life somewhere I’ll never know a thing about.

We weren’t close but had a few classes together. Teenage Me stole glances at her in Civics, she wore yellow shirts pulled down one shoulder, we were learning the Justice System but I was wondering how far that fabric could go.

Later, in AP Euro, we worked on a few projects. There was a mock trial of Martin Luther. One half of the class were prosecutors, the other defendants. I can’t remember which side we were on. I played the role of a witness, some bishop, J was our lawyer. It was her job to think up the arguments, make a case, drive it home. We planned it out for weeks. I gave a lot of input, that’s the kind of kid I was. When it came time for the trial, J clammed up. She asked me – again and again – to give her pointers. She was nervous. I tried to tell her she had it, tried to be encouraging. I ended up playing de facto lawyer for our side.

She told me a couple times that she just ‘couldn’t think as fast,’ comparing herself to me, to some of the other kids in class, a lie she bought completely. It was sad but exciting. I never wanted to admit it, but it turned me on.

AP Euro was on the bottom floor, almost a basement, we had a couple windows that started at ground level and stared at a three foot gap before another brick school building. When it rained, the windows fogged up. You almost heard windchimes. In my memory, it was raining the day of the trial. I still see J shadowed by the water, a pinstripe jacket, black glasses, red t-shirt, more beautiful than she ought to be, her features clogging up the room.

Currently Reading:

History of Wolves, Emily Fridlund (2017 Man Booker Prize Shortlist); Blowing me away so far; 100 pgs in.

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“I can only note that the past is beautiful because one never realises an emotion at the time. It expands later, and thus we don’t have complete emotions about the present, only about the past.” – Virginia Woolf


Coffee Log, Day 114


Coffee: Organic Sumatra Blend, Trader Joe’s Brand

I looked in the mirror above the cash drawers. It’s one of those big round mirrors so you can see the whole lobby warped like a fish eye. The angle was strange. I saw the back of my head. My hair’s thinning right on top, tonsure. I’m certainly not young anymore.

I have anxieties. What if I don’t find anyone to love me before I’m ugly? Ugly is owned individually. We put the beauty in each other – I see you and you’re lovely – but again, ugly is personal. I’ve got gray in my hair. I’m slowly balding. Recently, I’ve had to shave around my earlobes because there are a couple black wiry things. It’s getting harder and harder to keep the weight off.

I’m terrified of how I’m changing. I remember watching the five dogs of my childhood grow fat and old and die. It was a little different for each of them, but they all had more hollow eyes before the fall. I see myself in ten years as a hollow-eyed dog. I’m scared to bare the burden of life in the world, especially this world, one of so much responsibility, where I have it relatively good and so many Americans don’t; immigrants take their lives in federal prisons.

But we all put the beauty in each other. I pause and think it over. I guess what I’m really scared of is growing ugly before I’m able to love myself.

Currently Reading:
Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Way of Kings, Brandon Sanderson

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“I often stood in front of the mirror alone, wondering how ugly a person could get.” – Charles Bukowski, Ham on Rye