Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 250

Hi.

Coffee:  Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

Time is a toddler – uncooperative and full of surprises.

I’ve been having a hard time budgeting. Not my money (it’s my job to be good at that) but my time. The more you pour into one thing the less there is to go around. It’s an easy idea, everyone gets it, but there’s a feeling you don’t know until it cuts you up. This piece, that piece, weigh them, leave one behind. There might be room in your heart for everything you love but there’s not enough room in life.

I read an article about how people are unrecognizable as they grow older. It was a study, it followed a few individuals from grade school into their 70’s. Their personalities changed. Wants, priorities. Compare the recordings from when they were younger and you often couldn’t see them in themselves.

I was a cellist. In sixth grade, that’s all I was. Ask me what I’d be in ten years and I’d say professional: playing in an orchestra on a big stage, Manhattan, or Barcelona, somewhere sufficiently fancy and important, one of those places that always smell like it’s about to rain. But I didn’t make it ten years. I quit playing after high school, haven’t touched the cello since.

I felt good today. I’m settling into a recent promotion and we just hired someone to take my old position. I’ve been showing her the ropes. There’s a kind of confidence that only comes from knowing something well enough to show someone else how to do it. I’m a social animal. I might not care about all the sorts of status that society does, but I can’t avoid caring about feeling comfortable and accomplished in the roles I place myself in. And all that really scares me because how much blood will be left to move my fingers when I get home? How much space in my brain will there be for anything else?

The worst thing you can do is have the cake without tasting it. You baked it, might as well dig in. Like it or not, you’ve written off your time before you realize it’s gone. The best hope for any of is to set ourselves in motions we can live with.

Currently Reading: Another Country, James Baldwin

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Tell me, he said, “What is this thing about time? Why is it better to be late than early? People are always saying, we must wait, we must wait. what are they waiting for?”
“Well […] I guess people wait in order to make sure of what they feel.”
“And when you have waited—-has it made you sure?”

James Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 147

Hi.

Coffee: Pike Place, Apartment Lounge Blend

I went to the shore to abandon myself. The water was the color of 2% milk. There were long lines. A woman in an airliner’s outfit was trying to guide them but everyone was pushing. Further up, kids without parents were left playing in the dunes.

I took my shoes off. My feet were calloused from all the walking, the sand was hot, so they hurt. Eventually it would be high tide and none of this would matter. ‘Eventually’ can take a long time.

At sea there was a fisher’s boat. It was painted blue. The crew had a heavy old net with weights woven in it that they were sinking to the bottom. Every hour, they’d haul the net and let it hang to let out the milky water. What was left were the effects – shoes, shirts, hair-weaves, and sometimes, if the crew was lucky, a rolex. It was all escheated – that’s what you signed up for – but before shipping it off to the State, the fishers took their cut.

No-one ever asked what happens to the bodies.

When it was my turn, the woman in the airliner’s outfit had me stamp my thumbprint. She took out a roll of string and a ruler, got my measurements. Before she was even done with me, she was looking at the next person in line.

But it didn’t matter. I had gone to the shore to abandon myself. Now, I was ankle-deep in the water. It’s milk licked my slacks until they were a darker color. It was colder than I expected, and I felt like a tree, like all the heat of the day was getting drawn through my toes, deeply buried roots. It scared me. But it wasn’t an awful feeling.

Finally, sunk to my chin, I couldn’t think about anything. All I felt was joy. I couldn’t hear the children with no parents playing on the dunes. I couldn’t see the fisher’s boats doing their drudgery a couple miles off-shore. I’d forgotten how to spell, and when I looked at the clouds the only word that came to me was ‘candy.’ Every bit of horror was gone. And with that, I let the waves crash over me, sniffing out the space I’d made for myself, comfortably disconnected, at the bottom of the sea.

(some Saturdays, it’s hard to turn on the news)

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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So long as the child was fed on its mother’s milk, everything seemed to it smooth and easy. But when it had to give up milk and take to vodka, – and this is the inevitable law of human development – the childish suckling dreams receded into the realm of the irretrievable past.

Lev Shestov, All Things Are Possible

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 119

Hi.

Coffee: Light Roast, Trader Joe’s Brand; I woke up feeling stiff and sore from the night before; I could barely brew the coffee, so it was good Z left the pre-ground bag, no telling what my hands would have done with the grinder; I spent the morning sipping this stuff on our brown couch and staring wide-eyed at morning clouds; when you’re tired, you’re dissolving; the coffee tasted like burnt sugar

How can you make an impact on people? I’ve been thinking it over a lot, lately. I’ve got a handful of opportunities staring me down. Like all opportunities, they’re incompatible with one another. There’s goods and bads, pros and cons, so the only spectrum I’ve found to judge them on equally is: what will allow me to make the most impact? I’m still not sure.

I talked with an old woman who’s thinking about buying a beach house. She has a bad knee and no plans to see the ocean. Instead, she’s buying the house to be closer to her sister, who is even older, and having health issues.

I talked to a kid in college who’s reading The Wealth of Nations. Not for classes, but for personal interest. He’s young enough to think the world will open up for him like an oyster, and maybe it will. He’s passionate enough to think he’ll have an answer for all the constant questions, and maybe he will.

I talked with a man who smells like mildew. He has one bright yellow shirt that he wears while he’s working. Landscaping, a hard job for the hot summer. He speaks mostly Spanish and I speak mostly English but we manage. He’s taken to waving at me whenever he comes around and I’ve taken to shaking his hand.

All the people you come in contact with put an imprint in you. There’s no such thing as not having an impact. My heart’s a thousand pieces, a box of marbles, eager eyes in a murder of crows. But in the end, no matter which eye eats up all the others, I’ll look back and see the trail my body’s dragged through mud and grass. Hopefully, it’ll be a path made easier for whoever’s traveling behind.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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

The real price of everything, what everything really costs to the man who wants to acquire it, is the toil and trouble of acquiring it.

Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations