Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 66

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

Sometimes it feels like you speak things into focus. You’re thinking of something and all of a sudden it’s everywhere. 1985’s movie ‘Cocoon’ – now see how many times you notice ‘Cocoon’ coming up in conversation.

Yesterday, I wrote my blog in part about Charlotte. Today, two people were murdered by gun violence at UNC-C.

These days, nowhere feels safe. Every morning you take a serving of mass shootings with your toast and coffee. Places you assumed were impermeable are criss-crossed with bullet holes. It feeds itself – the less safe we all feel, the more on edge we all are. Our hands go quicker to our holsters.

Truth is, though, the world’s never been safe. In fact, even in America, there are communities that have suffered constant, consistent gun violence for decades. They just happen to be largely black or brown or poor, always marginalized. The papers don’t cover what they expect to happen, just the juicy stuff. We’ve been expecting poor minorities to die violently, but now we’re shocked when shots are fired at college kids.

None of that is to take away from the tragedy. It’s just perspective.

Anyway, I’m exhausted. I’m exhausted with the violence. Isn’t a peaceful life wretched and heart-breaking enough?

There’s no news yet about the motives of this shooter. No news about the lives of their victims. I saw one picture of a shot-out glass door at the UNC-C library. A long time ago, I opened that door on the way to meet up with someone who loved me. Now the glass is gone and there’s no more border between warm, book-laden hallways and the long-fanged outdoors.

Currently Reading: Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain

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Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.

E.F. Schumacher


Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 65

Hi.

Coffee: Cafe Pajaro, Trader Joe’s Brand

Every now and then I think about Charlotte, NC. It’s been a while since I’ve been there. For a couple years, it seemed like the edge of the world.

Today, specifically, I thought about the arts district. I used to go there with an ex-girlfriend. And sometimes I’d check out shows at the open mic my friend hosts. I’m sure it’s changed, but nine years ago it seemed like a place that was always a few feet ahead of itself. The people there were moving in all different directions, not stopping to figure out where they were going.

I thought: ‘This is how I want to be.’

But I look back and just see gentrification.

Progress happens faster than it used to. The speed of building, moving, renovating is a thousand times what it was. Generations get to see the world change around them in ways much of human history wasn’t used to. It’s modern, it’s progress, but it’s rather disorienting.

The flip-side of progress is what gets pushed out of its way. You build a place up until it’s booming, until the people who used to struggle there can’t afford to stay. Where do they go? What margins do they get pushed to? Homelessness is rampant in America, but even if you have a home, it’s likely you live in one of many faceless, forgotten communities, waiting for the next round of renovation to kick you further down the road.

Nowadays, I can’t look at pretty places without wondering who had to move on to make them happen. It’s sucked a bit of color from the world, but put some back in my soul.

Currently Reading: Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain

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Bennie’s corner of Brooklyn looked different every time Sierra passed through it. She stopped at the corner of Washington Avenue and St. John’s Place to take in the changing scenery. A half block from where she stood, she’d skinned her knee playing hopscotch while juiced up on iceys and sugar drinks. Bennie’s brother, Vincent, had been killed by the cops on the adjacent corner, just a few steps from his own front door. Now her best friend’s neighborhood felt like another planet. The place Sierra and Bennie used to get their hair done had turned into a fancy bakery of some kind, and yes, the coffee was good, but you couldn’t get a cup for less than three dollars.

Danile Jose Older, Shadowshaper


Coffee Log, Day 188

Hi.

Coffee: Sumatra Medium-Dark Roast, Trader Joe’s

Slush life, you wake up too early, your bed’s not made, your breakfast sits on the counter long enough to make lunch; twigs in the window punctured by streetlights; toothpaste grin.

The hot water says ‘shower’ but you don’t want to. There are dirty knives in the sink. You turn up the radio. Your roommates are sleeping. You turn it back down. Bone-carved pyramid – your elbows, arms, head on the table next to speakers. ‘Passion Pit’ – Charlotte loves you, you only used to hear them in the city. ‘Sleepyhead’, a song… you planned it but feel lucky. You’re old enough to know all the work that goes into magic.

Strings like a spider’s web, the bad old times try to snare you. Every night, you wake up for the bathroom, only to settle in the arms of a different dream.

Currently Reading: Nothing! Still poking through some books, will settle soon.

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“Wake up when you want to/
’Cause no one’s really watching.” – Passion Pit, Carried Away

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