Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 19

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

I talked to a lawyer about taxes. Not my taxes and not his either. He doesn’t do tax law. But somehow we got on the subject and were talking for over an hour. We also talked about computer architecture and teenager’s cell phones. I feel best after long conversations with people I don’t know. It was an interesting day.

A friend told me about his sleep studies. They smacked him with Apnea and a few other things. My father had Apnea also and I remember him wearing a face mask. My friend calls it a face-hugger. Alien, anyone? Anyway, there were these nights when I was little and scared where my bedroom would fill up with night terrors. I’d go into my parents’ room. They’d let me sleep beside them as parents do. Some nights, I’d sleep beside my father while he used the face mask. It sounded like an ocean. With boats. And crabs. And a few storms.

Right now, I’ve got the wok cooking veggies while the rice finishes. I added soy sauce and vinegar and oil. The oil’s bubbling. It sounds like red wine. I’m not having any wine because it’s a weekday but I can imagine. A spring day. Wildflowers. Sweet dreams.

Novel Count: 30,349

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami; FINISHED! 

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

If you come at four in the afternoon, I’ll begin to be happy by three.

Antoine de Saint-Exuperry, The Little Prince


Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 18

Hi.

Coffee: Breakfast Blend, Trader Joe’s Brand; over-eager like a new puppy, it jumps in your mouth and wags around, restless, happy, wholesome, until a few minutes later it pees on the floor. The blend was good at first but I brewed it too strong. Spent the rest of the day anxious.

I tried to write. I had writer’s block. Lately, I’ve been alternating between ‘off’ and ‘on.’ Either I’ll write five hundred words in fifteen minutes or nothing in a day. I can’t tell if that’s a good thing. It isn’t an easy thing. I don’t know what to do with myself when I’m not writing. Maybe that’s a part of a larger problem.

I’ve been planning a vacation. I was picking locations, settled on Richmond. I’ll go there in late April. It’s only three hours away. I picked the city because it’s got a good hostel. The last hostel I stayed at was in DC. Four years ago, touring American University before I applied for their MFA. I got accepted to that one and with a half-ride scholarship. Still couldn’t afford it. Still couldn’t go. Anyway, what I remember most about that trip was two things: the creeky bunk beds; having a quick coffee with M. We hadn’t seen each other in years. We caught up at a cafe and talked about her fear of mannequins. I kind of fell in love with her. Later, I’d tell her that, and later still, I’d really mean it. But that afternoon was just coffee and mannequins.

That’s it – the first day of daylight’s savings. Maybe that’s why I feel hungover. Maybe that’s what opened up a thin hole. Memories. Bugs. Afternoon static. A cool day, then a hot day, now a cool one again. Things come back to you. Or at least, we often hope they do.

Novel Count: 30,349

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami; FINISHED! 

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

I went to the Hotel of the Violet Hippopotamus and drank five glasses of good wine.

Anton Chekhov


Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 17

Hi.

Coffee: Sumatra Medium Dark, Trader Joe’s Brand; last of the batch. I had plans today, the plans fell through. So instead I had three cups of coffee in a sunlit room watching internet shows and reading internet articles and playing games with the new graphics card I got for my computer. Somewhere close to 10:00, I felt the caffeine. This blend is perfect for an easy morning. It’s not your best friend, not your lover, but it’s just good enough to make you feel fine without them. Oh, and it tastes a bit like walnuts.

A windy day. Makes me think of the Aegean. It was always windy on the Aegean. Sometimes, that meant you could stand on deck and spread your arms like flying. Other times, it was nauseating.

With the temperature pushing 70F and the rain having stopped, I took a walk. I went down my usual route but veered right where I often go left. The road spits into a calm park with a basketball court and a jungle gym. There’s a paved trail that skirts the park. I took the trail and called an old friend. He’s in school for a phd. We talked a bit about that, all the usuals of catching up, then I gave him some advice on banking. It’s weird to be able to do that: give constructive advice. For so long my skills have been tied up in art or thinking or workplace efficiency, nothing you can pass on to someone else. Now I’m being useful. It’s nice. It’s new.

After the call, I crossed a road bridge that spans an Interstate. The bridge shook and the wind was higher. A man was walking the other way holding his corgi and covering her ears. We caught eyes and I smiled at the dog. The dog looked terrified. I thought it was nice of him to do his best for her.

And now I’m home. Sunday’s still got a long way to go. Daylight savings – an extra hour of light.

Downstairs, three families are cooking pig ribs while their kids play. I passed them earlier when they were stoking coals. They were speaking Turkish. A long way from where they started, a new home. I wonder if this wind reminds them of the Aegean, too?

Novel Count: 30,349

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami; FINISHED! 

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

It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.

Charles Dickens, Great Expectations


Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 16

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

I’m losing an hour tonight. Daylight sucked into a void for its own saving.

When I was a kid, I used to wait until the morning to set the clock forward. It felt more important to see it happen. Nowadays, I sleep through the change. I set my alarm for the same time as always and wake up one hour more tired. It helps to have a phone that does the calculations for you. But even if I had to set the hands myself, I’d still turn them the night before. I guess getting older is being comfortable with lost time, or at least so resigned to it you don’t notice.

I’m celebrating this last dark day of late winter with old friends in Burlington. I’m writing this on my iPhone. Before we know it, we’ll have slipped another hour. See you on the other side.

Novel Count: 29,897

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami; FINISHED! 

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

At the back of the Daylight Saving scheme, I detect the bony, blue-fingered hand of Puritanism, eager to push people into bed earlier, and get them up earlier, to make them healthy, wealthy, and wise in spite of themselves.

Robertson Davies

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 15

Hi.

Coffee: Sumatra Medium Dark, Trader Joe’s Brand

What’s the smallest thing I could talk about? I’m out of energy for the big things. For fifteen minutes tonight, my life was in orbit around a Burger King.

Work let out late and it was dark and raining. I’d been planning to get gas on the way home. Confronted with a seven o’clock storm, those plans seemed like they could wait. Instead, I decided to get dinner. I had this dilemma – my tank was almost empty, I couldn’t go very far. Across the road from work is a Burger King. I’d never been there. Tonight it was my north star.

Every time I end up at the intercom to one of these joints I ask the same question: “Do you still have the veggie burger?” So far, every time I’ve asked that (which, admittedly, I could count on one hand) the answer’s been ‘yes.’ So I placed the order and pulled around and kept the window down while I waited to give my card. The drive-thru was empty except for me. The window was bright and white and green inside. I looked inside.

There was a young girl at the window, an older guy in the back. They were laughing apart from each other. They seemed to be having two separate conversations with the same third person, someone I couldn’t see. They’d take turns throwing up their arms or clutching their chests. But they’d be doing it so out of sync it was like they were in different rooms.

Eventually the food came. I checked the bag. It was small and full of fries. Somewhere in there must be a burger but I had to take it on faith. I thanked the girl and rolled up my window. The rain had gotten thicker and the night had gotten darker. My car started to smell like grease.

There’s my small thing: the only fifteen minutes that felt calm today. My stomach’s full and I’m crashing off the added sugars. Work again tomorrow. Then a long weekend. Who knows where the next calm minutes might find me?

Novel Count: 29,897

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami; FINISHED!

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

He settles back with a small handful of cashews; dry-roasted, they have a little acid sting to them, the tang of poison that he likes.

John Updike, Rabbit at Rest


Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 14

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

I had a new conversation with an old friend. She’s at the same old job. She’s got new responsibilities. She’s working harder. They laid people off. The company’s making money but not enough. They can’t meet growth. There’s new management. There’s old wages. They don’t get raises. They get more hours. They’re all salary. They get more responsibilities. There’s a big project. An old deadline, from before the layoffs, but the new boss had a meeting with the shareholders and now there’s a new deadline a few weeks early. My old friend’s pulling out her hair. She’s drinking black coffee at midnight. She’s wearing bright scarves. We’re talking old memories.

My generation makes money for other people.

Novel Count: 29,897

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami; FINISHED!

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

You can be young without money, but you can’t be old without it.

Tennessee Williams




Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 13

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee; back to office coffee. I don’t know what it’s been with these past two weeks but I just can’t find the motivation to get up early and brew. The days are getting longer. The sun’s out early. Maybe I miss those dark winter mornings in the dining room, crunching black beans, watching the lights come on other peoples’ apartments. Anyway, the coffee was good enough. It took away my headache. It tasted like a dentist’s office.

There’s a lady who lives here who has a mouth full of crooked teeth but doesn’t try to hide her smile. I’m not saying that as a platitude. I’m not about to tell you she’s so ‘brave’ or ‘enlightened’ for letting that stigma roll off her. For all I know, she sees herself in the mirror and wants to pull them all out. For all I know, she doesn’t even see them as crooked. I’m just trying to tell you there’s this lady who smiles and it’s pretty nice when she does.

Banking as a business is about selling secrecy. You need somewhere to keep your accounts away from the house, out from under the mattress. I’ve been in banking for about a year, but I’ve been selling secrecy for several. There’s a pact between teachers and students, teachers and parents, teachers and other teachers, and before that, of course, I was working law.

So anyway, that’s all to say that I hear a lot of people’s secrets. Of course I can’t share them, but I can say that I feel fortunate to see the undersides of people. When you walk someone into an office and close a door, a different part of them comes out. You’ve cut the world like a cake slicer, left off all the icing – what’s inside? Chocolate? Lemon? Nutmeg? And even though some of their secrets are important to conduct good business, most of them are filling – anecdotes that so-and-so can tell me because I’m someone who locks their door.

So my question is this: if my neighbor were in that office with me, would she smile? And if she did, what would she tell me about her teeth?

Novel Count: 29,630

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami; FINISHED!

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

And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.

Roald Dahl