Coffee Log, Day 219

Hi.

Coffee: Americano, Caribou Coffee; I took a Saturday shift and got coffee on the way to work. It was a half-day, four hours, the coffee lasted two.

I served drinks at a friend’s wedding reception. I was behind the bar the whole night. I knew three people. I recommended wines for cake and vegan finger foods. I was mostly making it up, but people seemed to like it. Half of any front-facing job is knowing how to seem like you know it. Tonight reminded me of my years working as a barista.

One guy ordered Michelob Ultra and asked if I knew any jokes. I said I didn’t, but I’d trade him the beer for one of his own. He went long with the punchline, got cut off two times, but laughed a lot so I laughed with him. He was related to the groom through who-knows-what and I liked him. We talked a few more times. As the night went on, I drank a few beers. I told better jokes after.

A couple of aunts and uncles ripped it up on the dance floor. In between dances, they told stories about their kids. We talked about University politics and getting old. Her order was a Riesling, his a Michelob Ultra.

I spent a long time talking with two friends about anything. It was nice to give them drinks, nice to serve them. You don’t know somebody until you’ve got your arms and legs tied to their convenience. A person’s true colors are painted on the people who work for them.

At the end of the night, I talked History with a Daughter of the Confederacy. She was older, once a teacher, I told her my grandmother’s mother had been a member too. The first thing she said when those words came out of her mouth was: “Not for the race, of course, but for history.” Later, she told me about a time her ankle was torn and one of her students administered the physical therapy. She oozed a good soul. We hugged. ‘History’ and ‘race’ are inseparable to a Southerner. Sin is subtle. But for every sin there’s a proud woman who’s put good thoughts into generations of kids’ heads. Life is complicated. I poured her half a bottle of Moscato by the end of the night.

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

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“A kind of joyous hysteria moved into the room, everything flying before the wind, vehicles outside getting dented to hell, the crowd sweaty and the smells of aftershave, manure, clothes dried on the line, your money’s worth of perfume, smoke, booze; the music subdued by the shout and babble through the bass hammer could be felt through the soles of the feet, shooting up the channels of legs to the body fork, center of everything. It is the kind of Saturday night that torches your life for a few hours, makes it seem like something is happening.” –
Annie Proulx, Close Range

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Coffee Log, Day 112

Hi.

Coffee: Organic Sumatra Blend, Trader Joe’s Brand

One of the customers is going to Scandanavia. Specifically, Norway and Sweden and Denmark. All three countries have kroner, he ordered some of each. This customer is an old man with white hair. He wore a purple polo today. He’s plump like a chicken under the butcher’s knife.

This guy had a particular style to him: no matter what he was saying, it became condescending. He asked whether you could interchange the kroner across countries. We looked it up, you can’t. He said: “Oh, look at you, you learned something today.” He pointed at each of us with freeze-dried fingers. It was hard not to laugh.

There’s a mean streak to white Southern pride. You define yourself against the rest of the world. If you are to have worth, you have to compete and you have to win and you have to let everyone else know you’re winning. Big-rim trucks. Your aunt’s three-foot Sunday hat.

I love and hate that part of my heritage. Hate it for the obvious reason: it’s obnoxious. Love because it’s pitifully honest, pitifully animal, a bunch of eager baboons comparing ass-cheeks.

Currently Reading:
Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Way of Kings, Brandon Sanderson

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“Early in my career…I had to choose between an honest arrogance and a hypercritical humility… I deliberately choose an honest arrogance, and I’ve never been sorry.”- Frank Lloyd Wright

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