Coffee:Black Drip, Waffle House; I had three cups and half of a fourth; I asked the waitress when she was going to get some rest; she said she’d gotten up at four when her twelve year old wanted to talk; she said she was working until 2pm but would be too wired to sleep when she got home; instead, she asked me to take a nap for her, and that that would be enough; I haven’t taken that nap yet; the coffee was woody like a whiskey that’s spent a long time on a dark, warm, dusty shelf.
I got lunch with an old friend at an old restaurant. She said it felt weird to meet again. I agreed. She ordered chicken soup with avocado slices and I got a veggie taco concoction with spinach and cheese. At first, I felt like I was floating on a body of deep water. I had my arms out, legs spread, focusing on every inch of my body to try and stay buoyant. Then an hour passed. And another. And I felt my limbs slip and my head pass under deep water, remembering why we were friends.
It’s nice to talk with a person that’s easy to talk with.
Currently Reading:NOTHING! will pick a new book soon
I’m losing an hour tonight. Daylight sucked into a void for its own saving.
When I was a kid, I used to wait until the morning to set the clock forward. It felt more important to see it happen. Nowadays, I sleep through the change. I set my alarm for the same time as always and wake up one hour more tired. It helps to have a phone that does the calculations for you. But even if I had to set the hands myself, I’d still turn them the night before. I guess getting older is being comfortable with lost time, or at least so resigned to it you don’t notice.
I’m celebrating this last dark day of late winter with old friends in Burlington. I’m writing this on my iPhone. Before we know it, we’ll have slipped another hour. See you on the other side.
Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami;FINISHED!
At the back of the Daylight Saving scheme, I detect the bony, blue-fingered hand of Puritanism, eager to push people into bed earlier, and get them up earlier, to make them healthy, wealthy, and wise in spite of themselves.
A friend from LA was in town for a wedding. I don’t know the people getting married, but he told me he was coming, and we made plans to get together in Burlington, our home town. So I drove sixty some miles with R in the car and spent the afternoon wading in old spaces I used to visit daily. Around six, we drove to La Fiesta for dinner. A funny thing happened then:
I forgot how to get to the restaurant.
This is a place fixed in my memories. I more or less grew up eating out at La Fiesta and I think I’ve even blogged about it a couple times. From the highway, I could get there with my eyes closed, but M’ was staying on a different corner of town out by Elon.
I missed my first turn then couldn’t figure out the next one. It was dark, cold, R was in the car and he helped me navigate. Houses sprung out of the ground where they didn’t used to be and the streetlights seemed to blink like the beads on an airplane, far away. It was a strange feeling. Spend twenty years of childhood in one place consecutively and then one day you don’t even know how to get around.
I’ll be turning thirty this year. I’m neither stressed nor looking forward to it. But tonight that number felt a little more real to me, like I’m about to close the cover on a long, dusty book.
Novel Count: 16,427
Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami
There was a rock I used to sit on in City Park back in Burlington. It was big and out of the way, you had to climb on top of it and when you did there was this scruffy view through scruffy trees of the scruffy creek that floods sometimes. One time, toward the end of High School, I sat on the rock for a whole morning watching a groundhog consider jumping in the water. She was a fat, brown animal, pine-cone eyes. She was scared of me, I was in love with her.
Earlier that week, a girl from English class had kissed me outside her car, then stopped returning my calls, then got together with a close friend whom she’d later marry. In comparison, I liked the way Ms. Groundhog spelled ‘simple.’
At noon, families flooded the park. The rides spun up. I got distracted. When I looked back, the groundhog was nowhere. I checked the bank. I checked the water. I didn’t hear a splash, but groundhogs are slippery. I left without seeing her again; I ate an overpriced burger on the way home.
Like most people I’ve loved, Ms. Groundhog wanders into view sometimes. Something in the right kind of late summer light. I wonder what happened that morning – if she gathered up the straw-fire courage to jump.
“A thousand people freezing their butts off waiting to worship a rat. What a hype. Groundhog Day used to mean something in this town. They used to pull the hog out, and they used to eat it.” – Phil (Bill Murray), Groundhog Day
Coffee: Fair Trade Five County Espresso Blend, Trader Joe’s Brand
I take the highway at 65 high-school-track-fields per hour, faster than the 8-minute miles I managed fifteen years ago. Things sped up; times changed.
I’m working Raleigh, a branch I haven’t been to. Maps come out the car speaker anticipating twists and turns, turning the music down automatically, red lines for bad traffic, or lines in the eyes where I haven’t been sleeping, supplementing missed midnights with caffeine.
Crickets in the early mornings when I walk the two turnbacks downstairs to the parking lot, reminding me of that one night after high school when we all went to Cedarock Park and built a fire, grilled hot dogs, slept bare-skinned in sleeping bags, made reckless love with ticks and crickets and coal-cracking store-bought branches; or of nights lost to five-more-minutes with the four inches of my iPhone, a spaceship/rocketship sort of life, burning time like jet fuel; or of strawberry-cheeks and IPA lipgloss, the ways I wish I saw you, the ways I wish you saw me, but only the white walls ever see much of anything, even though I haven’t hung them with anything yet.
I’m a bill-payer; news-checker; chatbox stalker; internet lover; a Modern Man.
It was family tradition to go out to dinner. We’d eat most often at La Fiesta, the Mex-American joint on Church, and back in the day before the remodeling it was a dark restaurant with few windows and brick walls and a big painted mural of two parrots in sombreros. We took turns telling adventure stories about the Amazon rain forest. Idle cultural appropriation aside, those were good memories.
As I got older, dinner nights became waiting for one or the other of my parents to come home from work. I remember blood-orange afternoons in the kitchen and the first sight of my father in a loose-fitting suit. These days, I wear white shirts and black slacks and tie myself up to go to work, then come home and heat something I cooked on the weekends. The only thing that sees me walk through the afternoon sun is a bundle of scratchpads and unfinished word documents bouncing off the taskbar. They’re a sort of family, and I’d like to think they tell better stories.
Currently Reading: The Pardoner’s Tale, by John Wain
Coffee: House Drip from Cracker Barrel in Burlington, NC; better than it had any excuse to be and a little disappointing because of it – sometimes you drink coffee wanting it to be bad. Hair of the dog and all that.
I ate breakfast in a Cracker Barrel. Three people touched me: my dad when we hugged and shook hands; an old pink yam of a guy at the table beside me when he tapped my shoulder and said “That omelette looks mighty delicious”; and our waitress after the third refill of black coffee.
The night before, I saw friends and slept in a strange bed and listened to a big dog bark occasionally. I’d been drinking champagne and had elaborate dreams of house-sitting.
Now I’m home in Cary. Every spot I’ve been the past couple days has felt like a separate home.
Currently Reading: The Pardoner’s Tale, by John Wain