Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 89

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

I was talking to a man who doesn’t know how to read or write. Also, he runs a business, employs the disabled, is a homophobe, jury-rigged a big-screen TV into his RV, and makes a mean rack of ribs. We talked about the weather. He gave me good guesses on when it might rain.

The worst thing happening right now is no-one wants to talk to each other. There’s different reasons for it – money, time, technology. No matter how you get there, though, all roads lead to Rome, and our Rome is made up of closed doors and closed opinions.

It’s easy to cut yourself off from the complicated middle-places where people used to meet. You read all your news with whatever slant you want, share your opinions with like minds on the message boards, and order groceries to be delivered so you don’t risk running into any unsavory characters at the store. You’re the king of your own castle, and thought it might be small, god it feels glorious to be in control.

I think there’s this assumption nowadays that people have to be perfect. They have to have spotless ideals and live to a strict code. No-one, in the end, is so perfect, but its not that hard to trick yourself into thinking that the people you already love must be.

What a boring world.

I remember how the hairs shot up when he threw that slur. He was talking about a guy he worked with at a different store, a cashier, who wasn’t running the money the way he thought it ought to be run. He said the guy must be gay, though he didn’t say it so nicely. And he repeated that a few times, almost spitting, then laughing about it, and waiting for me to laugh along. I didn’t laugh along. But I didn’t cut him off for it, either. I said “That can be a hard job. Maybe he was having a bad day.” And the guy says “Maybe,” and that was it.

Should I have fought harder? Should I have taken this guy to task for the slurs? Maybe. I think there’s a place out there for people who want to fight every fight, bloody their knuckles for good causes.

This guy – pushing 70, illiterate in the information era – goes on to light up as he tells me all about working on that RV. And then we talk about memorial day, and cooking, and though I’m not a meat eater anymore, I can appreciate the savor he puts in those juicy, crackling ribs. If you asked me point blank, I couldn’t tell you he was a good man, but no one with those bright eyes is wholly bad.

Look at an album of family photos, then find your reflection in the shiniest bit of steel in your kitchen sink, and admit that you’re not as perfect as you think you are. Then go out and find some bastard to talk to and try to suss out the good.

Currently Reading: NOTHING! Couldn’t get back into Bourdain, no matter how much I tried; will pick a new book soon

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i even tried to bury myself alive
but the dirt recoiled

Rupi Kaur, self-hate, in The Sun And Her Flowers

Coffee Log, Day 295

Hi.

Coffee: Bolivian Medium-Dark, Trader Joe’s Brand; I brewed the pot late and took a thermos to work; it was a wet rainy morning and I sipped it black; bitter enough to cut the cold.

Sometimes getting sick is exactly what you need.

For the past few weeks I’ve been running myself empty. I’d get up early and go to sleep late. I tore holes in my novel and patched them up and tore them again. I was thinking about January, about the new year, about who I’d like to be when the date changes. I was thinking about the farther future and how it’s like crossing a desert: you can see the mountains in the distance but they never seem to be getting any closer.

Not a productive place to be.

Sickness trumps everything. The bug gets in bed with you and when you wake up your whole body is gooed over. You aren’t a banker, a writer, a runner, a dater, you’re just sick. The most difficult thing in the world is refilling your cup of water. Every night is swampy with half-dreams.

But then you sneeze it out. Three boxes of kleenex later and you’re a changed person. You’re lighter, freer somehow. You got rid of something bad.

I’m still sick but I’m on the tail end of it. I’ve got that spring in my brain. In a day or two, I’ll sit down and type something and maybe it won’t look like anathema. I’ll wake up early and understand the blessing and power of being up before the sun.

Novel Count: (on hiatus while I recover from this cold)

Currently Reading: Cherry, Nico Walker (Finished! Mixed feelings overall; I’ll try to get to a review this weekend)

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This is very important — to take leisure time. Pace is the essence. Without stopping entirely and doing nothing at all for great periods, you’re gonna lose everything…just to do nothing at all, very, very important. And how many people do this in modern society? Very few. That’s why they’re all totally mad, frustrated, angry and hateful.

Charles Bukowski