Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 283


Coffee: Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee; back to that old office roast; the coffee comes in little pillow packages that tear too easily and it dumps out smelling like cigarettes caught in the rain; but I make it everyday for my comrades because it keeps us honest – you can’t hold any illusions of grandeur while you’re drinking this cheap weak stuff; and grandeur is dangerous whatever your profession but especially for those of us handling other peoples’ livelihoods; which is all to say, the coffee tasted fine

I used to walk along 15-501 where it passes through Carrboro because I had an apartment off it. I’d walk to the bus-stop, mostly, but sometimes to a city park that dropped off the road a few blocks away. In the winter, the park caught all the snow in it’s drifts and got the ground real muddy after melts. In the spring, it filled it up silkworms hanging in the hundreds from maple trees.

I remember the park because it’s one of those places I’ll never go back to. It wasn’t special enough, not all that important to me, and not so close that I’ll come across it without effort. A fat man in pinstripes could bulldoze the whole thing for another ten-story condo complex and I’d be none the wiser. But the park impressed me just enough that I can still call to it – green trees, wet gravel, the wood fence at the top of the hill.

I like that – having something wholly real and wholly belonging to me. It’s enough to think that God might exist, or that it’s dead and I’m the one who killed it. A vivid ticking cosmos going about it’s everyday a couple inches past my eyelids.

Currently Reading: Giovanni’s Room, James Baldwin

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You can neither lie to a neighbourhood park, nor reason with it.

Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities

Coffee Log, Day 212


Coffee: Drip, Carolina Coffee Shop; it was sour enough to know it had been sitting out for a while. The restaurant was busy. Our waitress said she’d been on her feet since 8 am.

I’ve been eating at Carolina Coffee Shop for eighteen years, first going there every now and then on trips into Chapel Hill with my parents. I met my parents there today. It crowded. There was a UNC football game so I had to park in Carrboro and walk up. It was sunny, humid, but mostly pleasant. There were kids in blue polos, dads in blue polos, girls dressed better than their dates. I walked fast and checked my reflection in the windows. Lots of unfamiliar windows, new buildings, I looked five years younger in them. “I used to live here,” I kept thinking. You only get disgusted by places that grow up without you.

About 80% of the times I’ve eaten at CCS – which must be in the dozens – they’ve sat me in a booth on the western wall facing the door. The restaurant’s been renovated over and over but they keep on putting me there. The bar’s in arm’s reach. We’re halfway to the bathroom, halfway to the doors. If you swung a pendulum from the antiquated ceiling, it’d hit me square at the apex. I assume it’s cosmological: put me anywhere else and someone in China slips off a ladder; two-headed dogs are born; or all the whales beach on chilly coasts south of Anchorage.

Today, the view was my family on the booth-back, the struggling waitresses, foot traffic on Franklin. Yesterday, it was the same. For everything that’s changing, this one thing can’t. Everyone you’ve said goodbye to, all in one place.

I got the eggs benedict but traded ham for avocado. It was good. Next time, I’ll probably order the same.

Currently Reading: Autumn, Ali Smith

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“How did it get so late so soon?” – Dr. Seuss