Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 19


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! 

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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, Day 329


Coffee: Cafe Pajaro Extra Dark, Trader Joe’s Brand

A colleague called me ‘country,’ but not in a bad way, and another said they figured I hung out at cafes wearing berets. Both thoughts are so far off the mark, but I was happy to have made an impression.

It was a busy day of getting to know people better. That wasn’t the point, but that’s what stuck with me. I learned about a woman’s grandchildren, a man’s changing habits after his marriage, and a friend’s penchant for snarky humor. I liked learning about them. I like listening to stories.

That’s all I’ve got today. Still busy, another round of classes tomorrow. Happy January. Hope you get the chance to meet someone new.

Novel Count: 15,629

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami

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Conversation. What is it? A Mystery! It’s the art of never seeming bored, of touching everything with interest, of pleasing with trifles, of being fascinating with nothing at all.

Guy de Maupassant

Coffee Log, Day 267


Coffee: French Roast, Trader Joe’s Brand

R and I went to Fiesta Mexicana. It’s this Mex-American joint across town. I wore my winter sweater because it’s not winter but it already feels like it. The dining room was well lit. There were two lonely people at the lonely bright bar.

I’m prone to eavesdropping. On good days I tell myself it’s research for future stories. We were stuck between two boothes with big parties. Both boothes were making lots of noise.

By the windows was a group of three families on a dinner date. They had their kids with them. One of the kids talked about how she’d learned to eat her vegetables in school. Another kid kept asking her mother for a sister. It was nice to hear the families. The streetlights had a way of showing you their skin. One of those old Greek pots, vibrant people.

The group behind me was something else. Two couples, both 30-ish, only the men were talking. Well, the women tried to talk then the men stopped them. One guy was going on and on about his business meetings. He hated the ‘creative types.’ The other was blaming his date for making his mother re-arrange her holiday dinner plans. She’d talk up a bit and he’d say something like “No.” The phrase ‘They were making fun of me for owning a golf cart’ was passed around. It was quite the drama.

And all I’ve got to say is: Pft. Golf-cart-owning loser.

Novel Count: 9,075 words

Currently Reading: Autumn, Ali Smith; Cherry, Nico Walker

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“I regard golf as an expensive way of playing marbles.”

– G.K. Chesterton

Coffee Log, Day 170


Coffee: Fair Trade Five County Espresso Blend, Trader Joe’s Brand

Her mom caught her talking Hebrew and asked where she’d learned it – “I don’t know!” Her mom didn’t either. So the woman spent most of her childhood looking for her Jewish roots but never found them. Now she has ‘peace’ in Hebrew tattooed on her wrist.

The drive through – a bank deposit, mom and daughter. The daughter’s putting in dollars and checks. Her mom tries to give her a few to make the total round even. The kid refuses. Mom laughs about it with me, a little amused, a little apologetic because I had to count it. I say: “I get it, that pride, huh?” The kid beamed like cream soda popped by the gym lockers because you have to hide your sodas at school.

The lady at the taco joint has different colored hair every time I see her. Today, it was aquamarine. Sometimes I see her walking the sidewalk, crossing Cary traffic, backpack on, punk sneakers, earbuds. When you order, she talks bright and smiles with the middle of her mouth. Today, she told me about a survey. Tomorrow, she’ll try to sell me drinks. Like all good salespeople, she’s a classy actress.

A guy tries to get to know me but gets my name wrong. I tell him right, tell him it happens all the time, but now there’s a bunch of stuff crowding the six feet between us, pink insulation. We work a little more and he tries again: “Are you new here?” I say no because I’m not new. I wish he’d talked about the weather. It was a hot day, sunny, spoiled sour cream. We could have compared projections for weekend rain. Instead, the guy tried to get to know me, but I’m a salesman, I’m a writer, I’m a passing cloud; I get paid to put the heavy things away in cupboards. Suits me fine.

Currently Reading: LaRose, Louise Erdrich

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“I’m a hustler, baby; I sell water to a well!” – Jay Z