Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 298

Hi.

Coffee: House Drip, McDonald’s Drive-Thru; The branch I’ve been studying at doesn’t drink coffee. They make tea in the mornings or some kind of faux-Tibetan energy drink. The manager is a body cleanser. The tellers are in no more need of caffeine. But I’ve been doing this too long to start my day without the stuff, my brain knows to expect it; ages ago, in neuroscience class, I learned that the mind is plastic, and adjusts to substances and circumstances; that’s why opium addicts only tend to die of their addiction outside the opium bars – their bodies can handle the stuff when they’re in the atmosphere of the dens. If I’m going to study, I’ll indulge my minor addiction; McDonald’s coffee is bathroom towels on the way down, ones that have been sitting around too long, but has a nice aftertaste

I’ve been nose-deep in books this week (not the fun kind, but study guides). I learned about IPO’s. Initial corporate stock offerings. And today, Goldmann Sachs says they won’t take those IPO’s to market anymore for companies whose Board of Directors is only straight, white men. That means two things: 1) that there’s a price tag on diversity; 2) that price is pretty high. Good news, though like any capitalist action it’s hard to know how long it will last. Progress only happens when it pays, no telling if it’ll stop paying.

But it got me to be a bit introspective – about the work I’m doing, or will be doing once I’m licensed. And it made me hopeful, there’s good here, or at least the opportunity for it. It’s good to see a bit of silver lining alongside the harder storms of the day.

Currently Reading: Giovanni’s Room, James Baldwin

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The corporate board has become a rare bright spot for gender and racial diversity at the highest echelons of corporate America. Almost half of the open spots at S&P 500 companies went to women last year, and for the first time they made up more than a quarter of all directors. In July, the last all-male board in the S&P 500 appointed a woman.

Jeff Green, writing for Bloomberg – Goldmann to Refuse IPOs If All Directors Are White, Straight Men

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 297

Hi.

Coffee: Americano, Caribou Coffee; smooth like two oysters rubbed together right out of the river, the way you knock the dirt off, and how the sand is mostly gone but some still gets to you; reliable, and good enough

This is the longest I’ve gone in two years without posting a daily Coffee Log, On Friday I was busy studying for my upcoming investment exams, and when I left the office I drove straight to Atlanta. Over the weekend, I was letting myself have the joy of participating in my life instead of taking a few steps back to look at it. Yesterday was more driving, and a bit of thought about MLK.

I remember we used to celebrate MLK day back in grade school. It was an excuse for semi-black songs sung in music class, the kind that have the culture toned down and not too much rhetoric of emancipation – Respect, or Lean On Me. There was a dream but we dozed through it, especially our teacher. And all us little white boys and girls felt equal in every way.

M watched ‘13TH‘ on Netflix yesterday while I was driving and told me about it, how a clause in the 13th Amendment about freedom’s contingence on criminal status had been manipulated after Jim Crow for the imprisonment of African Americans and the profit of everybody else. She told me how they showed Emmet Till two times on the show. Earlier, on Friday, when I first got to her apartment, she’d been reading this book about James Baldwin and they showed Till in there, too. So it was a weekend bookended by tragedies neither she nor I have to suffer directly, filled through the middle with our joy, a kind of American Oreo how you’ve got the black on the the margins, and this overstuffed privilege in the middle. At least we try to think about it, I guess, and let our hearts be haunted a little, but that doesn’t make it any clearer what to do.

I want to think of my joys as attainable and my sufferings as undeserved, but so much of my joy is bought on the backs of a wicked oppression, one that has its roots in my family tree. It keeps growing now matter how I’d like to trim it. Every year, it bears more fruit, so that the bitterness and hunger is belonged to me, an awful harvest, and one that, despite my clear-eyes and longing conscience, I continue to reap and continue to sew.

Currently Reading: Giovanni’s Room, James Baldwin

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Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Article 1, 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 296

Hi.

Coffee: Americano, Caribou Coffee

I got the car washed but it didn’t do much. There are black spots from last spring where the pollen stuck. I didn’t want a white car but that’s all they had for me. You can choose, but choices aren’t perfect. It was a drive-through wash, automatic, maybe the stains will go away with a bit of elbow grease.

Later, at the Wal-Mart, I was buying a desk-fan. I couldn’t find it and the girl who worked there couldn’t either. She asked a manager, who knew. I bought it but don’t know if it works yet. I need it for my desk in the new office, the one they’ve got me studying at. The office is a sauna. There’s a pretty window, though, on a technical college parking lot, with lots of clean cars.

Currently Reading: Giovanni’s Room, James Baldwin

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Told you. Everything sounds better in the car wash.

Sarah Dessen, Just Listen

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 295

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

I’ve gotten out of the habit of writing things when I don’t have anything to write about. That’s good and bad, I guess, because I say less but also more when I make the choice to say it.

It was a hot day. That makes me think of glaciers, and that makes me think of Australia. There are acres burning for miles across the continent of Oceania. They’ve been burning since late last summer and don’t look inclined to stop anytime soon. It’s not that a hotter world causes fires, exactly, but it plants a lot of seeds, the dry grass, dead leaves, ample kindling, like buried embers in your uncles favorite coal pit, the one he spits a pig on every summer. Now, I’m the pig and you’re the pig, skin crisping golden brown, rolling, rolling, rolling,

I met a kid who’d just had his 1st birthday. He was with his mom, we were opening a savings account. The kid wore blue overalls with big red buttons and he could say his name, mostly, though it took a few tries for anyone but his mom to understand it. Otherwise, he liked saying ‘cat,’ and would point at things, like my chair, and say ‘cat,’ whether or not it applied. Which seemed like magic to me, thinking that the whole world is made up of two things for him, himself, this little named pink thing with pretty overalls, and cats, cats and cats and cats. I hope he doesn’t learn any more language for a while. Let the world seem soft and purring as long as it can.

Currently Reading: Giovanni’s Room, James Baldwin

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

In 1995 the budget for fighting fire made up 16 percent of the US Forest Service’s budget. It rose to the 50 percent level in 2015 and could reach close to 70 percent by 2025.

Edward Struzik, Firestorm: How Wildfire Will Shape Our Future

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 294

Hi.

Coffee: Organic Dark Roast, Don Pablo’s

Somebody I don’t know donated a couple dollars to my Ko-fi account. I’m a little embarrassed, like it’s Christmas but I didn’t get you anything. Mostly though I’m flattered. Anyway, thanks.

I went driving across town. I had the windows up because it was blustery. I was listening to that new Drake and Future drop. Most of the drive was sunny, even though most of the day was cloudy. But it got cloudy again around the old Kroger that Harris Teeter bought. It’s only ever cloudy when I’m around there. I don’t know what it is. Secret magic; un-understood science.

At the light, stopped, on the corner of High House where the lights are always long, I checked the news. There were stories on Iran. How they shot that plane down accidentally and now they’re owning up to it. So I was thinking about Iran the way I have been most of the week. I was thinking about how little I know of the country. I was thinking about that story from last century where we coordinated the coup against their democratic government and re-installed the Shah. A lot of stray thoughts that I don’t have enough room in my house for.

I fell asleep last night while M was still up. She tells me she’s up til two feeling restless, or kept up by the cat. Meanwhile I’m out. It’s funny how we share the world. How some of us are up, some of us asleep. It’s like there’s not enough room for everyone so we’ve got to take turns. A raft ride at a water park, sleepwalking toward the drop. And so much of it is scary but when I think about M up at odd ours, or opening her eyes when I’m clean out, it seems like things are in good hands. That’s peace, I guess.

Currently Reading: Giovanni’s Room, James Baldwin

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Workin’ on a weekend like usual
Way off in the deep end like usual

Future feat. Drake, Life is Good

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 293

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything. I’ve gotten out of the habit and I’m trying to be gentle with myself about that. There’s a time and place for everything and my time and place have changed since I started this blog. 2020 looks better with the lights off, blissfully dreaming.

But I want to write sometimes and that’s where I’m at right now. I’m thinking about July, as I often do, thinking about the summer when it’s not summer, because summer is inescapable, the sticky heat, the haunting trees, the exasperating blue skies. Thirteen years ago, when I was 17, I wrote a poem at a summer camp. I wrote after curfew and got a few words from my roommate who wanted me to turn my light off, he was trying to sleep.

What a different time.

Last night brought restlessness before a few good dreams. I was thinking about work, about the people, not the job, and about brushfires, and about Iran. Most days, it seems like the world is just as restless as me. It has all these big things in front of it and lashes out anxiously. It can’t sit down, can’t focus, can’t come together, so we just keep killing or looting or burning, because fire warms up the coldest black heart, and disaster is at least some kind of momentum. But I think, really, what we’re all wanting is to calm down, take a good long breath, and find that place that’s peaceful enough for us to write something every morning. The freedom to think about your life is a luxury, one people less fortunate than me are dying for.

Currently Reading: Giovanni’s Room, James Baldwin

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Sometimes we can become too holy and therefore, caged.

Charles Bukowski, On Writing

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 292

Hi.

Coffee: Organic Dark Roast, Don Pablo’s

I wanted to make a pasta sauce so I looked up local kitchen supply stores. There’s this place called Whisk, and it’s only ten minutes away from me, so I went there. Whisk is in Waverly, a shopping center, on the second floor, overlooking an outdoor playplace. It was busy because they were having a sale.

In the end, though, I couldn’t afford to buy local, because the cheapest saute pans they had were $150. I had this half-second binge of being bougie, walking along the aisles with well-off professionals, feeling well-off myself. There was a a woman ten years older than me checking Le Creuset’s off her list. A cadre of retirees cooked pasta at a paid lesson in the back. But I don’t make that kind of money, though I do make a decent living, and I had to leave empty-handed.

In the end, I bought my pan from Wal-Mart. It was even busier, Sunday blues singing through everyone’s day-old pajamas. There were teen couples int he freezer aisle and hair curlers picking up prescriptions. A Portugese family had to ask for help finding a second set of oven mitts. And I felt too well-off to be there, like I’d lost a bit of the struggle I used to feel, and thinking so turned circles in my stomach.

Currently Reading: Giovanni’s Room, James Baldwin

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

How do I like to spend my day off? I like to hit up the juice bar, the bookstore, tan, and then flirt with the pharmacy tech at Walmart.

Crystal Woods, Write like no-one is reading