Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 275

Hi.

Coffee: Corporate Office Medium Roast; the coffee came in a carafe that sat on a hot plate, just like you’d have at an anonymous diner; the executives pointed us to the pot before our regional meeting; the pot was in a different room; so we filtered in, one by one, pouring styrofoam cups, adding cream or sugar or nothing, careful not to spill on our nice clothes, our long dresses, our suits; during the meeting, we sipped quiet enough not to interrupt the important speakers, but not so quiet that they wouldn’t notice us, showing our gratitude for this opportunity in measured slurps; I finished one cup and it was weak; I wanted another, but never found the chance to get up and pour; the coffee was like old water, something with stories, but ones you probably don’t want to hear

Last night, I went to bed early. It was nine and I was tired, I missed writing the Coffee Log. I’ve been missing the Log off and on lately and at first that bothered me. Writing this post every day was a way to center myself, and more importantly it was a commitment I’d bound myself to, and what are we but our commitments? Things change, though, life’s given me a different set of focuses and responsibilities, and I’m trying to be gentler with myself when I miss a beat here or there. I’m saying this for me, really, to understand my own motivations, but you’ve tagged along for two years now and so I figured I’d key you in.

Anyway, last night, I went to bed early, but I woke up early too. It was 3:30. I’d set my clock for 6:00. The night outside was smoky, my legs ached, my head felt sore. More than anything there were rough-edged dreams to keep me up. I was in a landfill, blue and white trash-flowers, plastic bags, the ground around me filling up. Then I was lost in one of those abandoned factories that are becoming the gray hairs of America, wandering in circles and up and down Escher steps. Those kind of dreams. And once I’d woken up from them, I didn’t have the heart to go back.

I spent the day listening to the impeachment proceedings. Some days I think our whole country is having nightmares, losing sleep. We aren’t thinking straight, and when we open our mouths its surprisingly hard to talk to one another.

Currently Reading: Another Country, James Baldwin

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“There is a time for many words, and there is also a time for sleep.”

Homer, The Odyssey

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 116

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

The sky is pepper-blue. Only in the summer.

I’ve been spending a lot of time in corporate conference rooms. The walls are all tacked with motivating pictures. Overall pleasant spaces. A lot of thought and care went into these rooms, even if it’s the kind of air-conditioned thinking that forgets there’s any kind of world outside.

In the ongoing theme of this week, I’m tired. I speechless. I’m a soap bubble in a full bath, warm water, waiting to pop. I’ve got dreams of driving on a long, wooded road in the country, a vacation, fabulous destinations, only I never get to the end of the road and it’s getting late and I’ve gotta piss and there aren’t any rest-stops. That kind of dream. That kind of week.

But the sky is pepper-blue, pretty. It’s something. Amazing.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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My heart is small, like a love of buttons or black pepper.

S. Jane Sloat, In the Voice of a Minor Saint

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 36

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

I ate pizza in a popular chain joint, Blaze. The restaurant was in Morrisville and had a spot locked in an open air mall. You pick your toppings at the counter and I asked the guy for oregano. He pinched it and sprinkled like we were somewhere richer.

One thing I miss is living in a place full of small business. In the NC triangle, the small places get boxed in by big chains. There’s a certain kind of pride to being a successful franchisee, but that pride comes from executing someone else’s dream. Good pizza, no originality.

I once ate lunch at a Huddle House near Asheville. I was traveling back from Knoxville with my dad. My grandmother was in a nursing home in Knoxville and she was dying. We visited her a lot back then. I’d taken a few days off of middle school.

It was a solemn trip, a long trip, we got caught in bad mountain traffic. That’s when we pulled off to eat. I remember the cold red awning and bright white lights in the Huddle House. I remember weak eggs and a friendly waitress.

It was comfortable. Corporate and perfect. Right then, that’s what my dad and I needed. I guess the cookie cutter and familiar is not all bad.

Novel Count: 34,368

Currently Reading: The Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes

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Huddle House is the host of family and friends, brought together by good food, cooked-to-order and served from the heart.

Huddle House Website

Coffee Log, Day 328

Hi.

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

I did an off-site training at the corporate office today. I’ll be doing it for three days, most of this week. It felt like being back in college. We were in a small room with shared tables. There were whiteboards and projectors. We did group activities and answered questions. College – not a place I was looking to go back to.

But I’m always open to new experiences.

There’s a certain slime to corporate spaces. It’s a gregarious slime – fancy, accommodating, obsessed with cost-calculated comforts. I ate lunch with friends in the cafeteria and noticed the treadmills and lime green walls, the tv’s that were easily accessible but not too imposing. A lot of money was spent to make this a place people want to be. Consequentially, it turned me way off.

I watched a 3 part interview series on youtube between a Belgium man and Charles Bukowski. It was filmed in the 80’s, late in Bukowski’s life. They talked about a lot of things and didn’t seem to like each other. At one point, Bukowski takes the guy to this hostel he holed up in for the first few years of his writing career. He told a story about how the landlady would leave him baskets of fruits and veggies because she thought he was mentally unstable after he’d told her he was quitting the post office for writing. The camera caught poor kids in no shoes and suspenders and one young Latino family with gold teeth and jello cups and a chihuahua that kept trying to eat the jello cups. Bukowski said: “There’s stories in these people. Most writers don’t want to talk to these people.” That made a lot of sense to me.

Novel Count: 15,629

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami

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Sometimes you just have to pee in the sink.

Charles Bukowski