Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 219

Hi.

Coffee:  Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

Quickly:

A kid came over and called me ‘kerfuffle,’ said it was my new name. She needed a new one too so I called her ‘yordle,’ the first thing that came to mind. Her mom came in and sat in my old green rocking chair, talking over troubles at work. Her boss is an alcoholic, and it keeps going from there. The kid was trying to get my roommate to play patty-cake but my roommate wasn’t budging. Mom went on, and on, and I felt bad because I was drinking, only a can, 12 oz, but it seemed like more when she was telling her stories.

These people used to be my neighbors but we never started talking until they moved away.

Anyway, cheers to another evening, and if you ever see me, call me kerfuffle – I think it fits.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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Oh, this beer here is cold, cold and hop-bitter, no point coming up for air, gulp, till it’s all–hahhhh.

Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow

Coffee Log, Day 311

Hi.

Coffee: Cafe Pajaro Extra Dark, Trader Joe’s Brand

Pizza at a place I haven’t been to in years. The walls are all painted with an exaggerated mural. Same mural, same booths, same broken Bud Light sign over the counter. Only the most innocuous things stay the same.

Three down drunk on the last Saturday of the year. As much intoxicated by the company as the beers. Sometimes it’s hard to be around people that you know. It’s like those moments when you’re thinking of some common word and can’t remember how to spell it.

Novel Count: 7,400

Currently Reading: Nothing! Will pick a new book after the holidays.

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

Pizza is good medicine for disappointment.
– Katherine Howe


Coffee Log, Day 205

Hi.

Coffee: French Roast, Trader Joe’s

I don’t write particularly well when I’m drunk. I don’t do much of anything particularly well when I’m drunk. That said, I’m drunk.

I sat on the porch and re-read ‘Hear the Wind Sing,’ Haruki Murakami’s first novel. The storm was raging, my neighbors were chatting on the deck below me, and for a short while a latina in a gray tee bounced happily up-and-down on the third floor across from my apartment. She was pretty. She waved at someone else. All of us watched the creek surging like a well-fed boar.

In such circumstances it felt unconscionable not to have a drink. I drove to the nearest gas station. Far as I could tell, no trees were down, but the road was messy with leaves. It was warm, I listened to a collection of leaked Young Thug b-sides. What traffic there was was moving fast and with a purpose.

At the gas station, I bought a six-pack of Negra Modelo and the guy recognized me so I wasn’t carded. A few weeks ago, I told a Tinder date that the first beer I drank was Negra Modelo.

“Wow, pretty extreme for a first beer,” she said.

She was a pretty girl, sociologist, almost-professor, who spent the date talking over me and looking at a point somewhere on my forehead, never in the eye. There was no chemistry but I asked her out again anyway. “There was no chemistry,” she said. Hard to argue.

In all honesty, I gagged on Negra Modelo the first time I tried it. I was a Junior in college. I’d just turned 21. I went to the Armadillo Grill on campus – the only place with a bar – and ordered the drink with dinner. They gave me an open bottle. You weren’t supposed to take alcohol out of the bar but I was so nervous – so wrapped up in dreams of what the beer might do to me – that I tore foil off my chicken tacos and capped the drink. I stuffed it in a hoodie pocket and walked out, sweating the whole way home. Afterward, I played Call of Duty and drank half the beer. I called my girlfriend at the time – a short social worker who’d go on to get drunk one December years after we’d broken up and invite me over – and said I hated it. She was disappointed. S liked to drink.

‘Hear the Wind Sing’ holds up on a second pass, just as I’m sure it holds up on a third. It reminds me of The Tatami Galaxy – light, short, funny, heartbroken – it’s no surprise I’m in love.

When the latina waved I almost waved back. I would have liked to have invited her over, given her some of this six-pack to help me finish it. In a storm, anything’s possible. When the rain stopped, though, she disappeared.

Currently Reading: Autumn, Ali Smith

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the BorderRAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

“The Rat’s novel had two good things about it. First, there were no sex scenes; second, no one died. Guys don’t need any encouragement – left to themselves, they still die and sleep with girls. That’s just the way it is.” – Haruki Murakami, Hear the Wind Sing

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Coffee Log, Day 110

Hi.

Coffee: Organic Sumatra Blend, Trader Joe’s Brand

Not to knock sports, but I’ve never been a sports fan. There’s a bit of self-defensiveness in that because I’ve never been very good at sports. For the most part, I don’t miss it. There are things I love, communities I’m a part of, hobbies that engage me. However, I do feel the gap of big, shared events – the World Series, the Super Bowl – the same way a kid feels vacant when she gets sick on her birthday. These last four years I’ve made my own replacement tradition: the first weekend in June, I drink beer, eat Little Caesar’s pizza, and watch coverage of the E3 video game press conferences.

I grew up escaping into video games and I still do. They’re a part of me, personally and artistically. When I was younger, playing games was still a nerdy thing; it’s moved to broader culture but there’s still some stigma tied to it. “If you’re playing that game, what else could you be doing?”

That’s a fair question. I’ve missed out on bits of life because of video games. In return, though, they’ve given me a large wardrobe of different clothes – vibrant, silly, violent, mournful, fantastic. I owe some personal development to A Link to the Past – it taught me that there’s magic in striving for something. Persona 4 taught me what it takes to write a vibrant, lived-in world.

I skipped the beer today – getting up too early tomorrow to allow for it – and before the shows I ran errands, wrote, checked all the productive boxes – but you can be damn sure I spent three hours on the couch munching cheese pizza transfixed by the possibilities of a thousand virtual childhoods blipping on the screen.

Currently Reading:
Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Way of Kings, Brandon Sanderson

Fund the Coffee Log 🙂 – https://ko-fi.com/livesaywriting

Chie Satonaka: Man, where the heck are we? What *is* this place? Someplace inside Junes?
Yosuke Hanamura: Hell no, it isn’t! I mean, we fell through a TV! Actually, uh… what *is* going on here?” – Persona 4

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Coffee Log, Day 98

Hi.

Coffee: Cafe Pajaro Extra Dark Roast, Trader Joe’s brand

I went to Durham. The city’s like a cicada to me – a bunch of husks. Beautiful, vibrant husks that keep growing, year after year. Let me list a few:

1) 5 years old; my parents took me to the Natural Science Museum. We went in the maze, played with tornadoes and took the Dinosaur Walk. The statues were chipped back then, I think they’ve replaced them. I liked the chipped statues. They were real and magical with their plaster spots and busted noses.

2) My first four years of adulthood were spent at Duke; Durham was a big smooshy bubble. I’d touch it and bounce back. Duke was my city for a long time. Eventually, I dated a girl who lived in Charlotte and took trains every week to see her. I walked to the station. The city came alive for five minutes each way. Passing bars in Brightleaf, it felt like everyone was looking at me.

3) I loved you for a year, Durham, a feverish awful love; I lived in a one-bedroom by Southpoint and knew your manicured side – PF Changs; fancy retail. I asked you to settle me then and you said no. I hated you for a while then I realized you were right to deny me. I’m glad you made me go away, Durham.

4) Commuting from a different city, I taught your children; well, I tried to. They taught me more: patience, honesty. The kids in North Durham knew life like a kaleidescope and occasionally they’d let me look through with them. If any of them remember me, I hope they see me as someone who tried.

5) August 18th, 2017 – we stood together in blood-hot sun. We thought the KKK were coming. They weren’t happy that your bravest hearts killed their statue. In the end, the KKK didn’t show, but Durham sure as hell did. Women and men organized, made a movement. I gave my body to be counted but mostly I just listened. Since that day, I’ve tried to hold myself accountable to my own power – the freedom it gives me, the fear to use it. Durham, I’m trying to be better for you.

6) Last night you showed me wet streets and wet plants and full crisp pints at Fullsteam and you gave me a place to live honestly, breathe openly, and look for loose ends in life I haven’t pulled yet.

Thanks.

Currently Reading:
Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Way of Kings, Brandon Sanderson

“I have no house only a shadow. But whenever you are in need of a shadow, my shadow is yours.” – Malcolm Lowry, Under the Volcano

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Coffee Log, Day 88

Hi.

Coffee: Organic Honduran, Trader Joe’s brand

I did some research: traditional beer brewing often uses fish bladders in the filtering process. I quickly scanned my favorites to see if they participate in the practice and thankfully the best of the bunch – Guinness, Negra Modelo, etc – were all clear. For those interested, here’s a handy website to see if you’re drinking animals to get drunk: barnivore.com.

We all have our castles. They’re not physical, rather mental, rather dreamed up delusions that the world was always perfect, always an act of divinity (labeled science, god, what have you), came out of the primordial soup with straight plastic lines and nutritional labels. Go back a few hundred years and people knew a lot less but what they did know was immediate and vital. I couldn’t sew a patch in my jeans if you asked me; a few centuries back, my family made their clothes from scratch.

That lack of transparency means we’re all drinking fish bladders without realizing it. We take for granted that every act we participate in is bloodless, safe, pure. When we shop or sit down at the cafe we’re above the muck and grime, blind to prejudice, removed from human (and animal) suffering. But the trick is that we’re doing all the same things we’ve been doing since DNA struggled to produce claws and fangs, only we’ve automated the process so well as to give ourselves the illusion of having no agency over it.

I’m trying to be better. I’ll buy vegan beer. I’ll look at the corporate missives when I buy clothes, try to avoid the sweat shops. I gave up shrimp a long time ago because so much of the stuff was drawn from dark waters on slave ships in Southeast Asia. But try as I might, I’m going to stumble into horror and atrocity with big, ignorant smiles time and time again.

It’s hard to be good and modern at the same time.

Currently Reading:
Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Way of Kings, Brandon Sanderson

“Now I can look at you in peace; I don’t eat you any more.” – Franz Kafka

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Coffee Log, Day 63

Hi.

Coffee: Organic Sumatra Blend, Trader Joe’s Brand; Last day of it! All in all, an acceptable coffee. It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad. One of those part-time jobs that take you through a rough, quick season.

I took tea in Chapel Hill last night. The town’s changed. I’ve been saying that every visit for four years or more. There was a time when I lived in Chapel Hill. Our apartment was off the highway. Sometimes we’d walk across the highway and across the train tracks and through Carrboro to Franklin, to one or two different blue-awning buildings, to have a drink or spend too much on dinner.

We got caught in a thunderstorm once. The wind took Franklin like a frightened mother. We drank pints and watched the cockroaches hurry over the counter. We were the only customers at four p.m.. I didn’t have a job. I was a Duke kid in a UNC town. She was a part-time au pair. Years later, we went back and got caught in another storm. I had an umbrella. I had to hold her to keep her under. For me it was fire, for her – well, something pretty tame.

But last night I mostly got lost in other memories. Like Chapel Hill, life keeps changing.

Currently Reading:
The Pardoner’s Tale, by John Wain

Fund the Coffee Log 🙂 – https://ko-fi.com/livesaywriting  

“It was slow and unconscious immersion, but here I am, irrevocably lovelorn, just like many others.” – Linnie Greene, excerpt from her story featured in 27 Views of Chapel Hill (Found on the Chapel Hill Visitors Bureau website; inexplicably, Linnie Greene is an old friend and I didn’t expect to see a quote from her)

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