Coffee Log, Day 207

Hi.

Coffee: French Roast, Trader Joe’s

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.

Currently Reading: Autumn, Ali Smith

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“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

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Coffee Log, Day 168

Hi.

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.

Currently Reading: LaRose, Louise Erdrich

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“I didn’t need to think of myself as a walleye drifting along in a current somewhere, just waiting for my hook. I was yearning for it.” – Emily Fridlund, A History of Wolves

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Coffee Log, Day 70

Hi.

Coffee: Organic Bolivian Blend, Trader Joe’s Brand

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

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“My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four. Unless there are three other people.” – Orson Welles
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Coffee Log, Day 67

Hi.

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

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

“I’ll drink your champagne. I’ll drink every drop of it, I don’t care if it kills me.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Coffee Log, Day 66

Hi.

Coffee: Organic Bolivian Blend, Trader Joe’s Brand

Rain-blushed yellow, that’s how the road was. I drove the Triangle Expressway – a toll road I don’t usually take – to get me home faster, my old home, Burlington, and the highway passed under other highways I often travel and the traffic was not bad, the wind mobile as a toddler, Spring born over and over in dewey-wet trees still hanging on between the outlet malls, and all I could do was think about twenty years ago when it was probably just trees and about how regular it is to watch living things die and get replaced by permanent concrete and how hate and violence are the stuff of nature and civility is as much a stiff brick as all that concrete, less vibrant but providing for people, only the tack holding our gray-red monster of a wall in one piece keeps chipping.

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

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

“You show me a capitalist, and I’ll show you a bloodsucker.” – Malcolm X

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Coffee Log, Day 50

Hi.

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

I drove home at 11:00 am. Not ‘current home,’ but ‘grew-up home.’ Burlington, NC – a squashed sort of town taking space between Chapel Hill and Greensboro. It’s everything American – diverse, suburban, stratified. The building’s are concrete, even the nice ones. The weather looks good from the west end and frightening on the east. Train tracks divide it like the sign outside the country club: “Proper attire, no loitering.”

I had to take my car to the shop. Nothing but family or necessity brings me back here. I have a lot of love for what the place made me and a lot of fear for the chippings left behind. I went to the old bookstore I worked at and some of the faces were the same. I drove Huffman Mill like it was 2008 and wished the country had grown up with me. Or maybe it has grown up – the way the snot-nosed kid on the playground grows, knowing better ways to hit you, more vocabulary for his prejudice.

It’s not all bad. I ate lunch at La Fiesta – a Burlington institution – and the salsa was good as I remember.

Currently Reading:
Tar Baby, Toni Morrison

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

“I believe that one can never leave home. I believe that one carries the shadows, the dreams, the fears and the dragons of home under one’s skin, at the extreme corners of one’s eyes and possibly in the gristle of the earlobe.” – Maya Angelou

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