Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 82


Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

The army’s at my gates again. They wear bright colors. They wield sharp spears. Some of them ride on porcelain stallions. That’s right, you guessed it: I’ve been letting the dishes collect again.

A nine to five work day is a strange animal. It does things in pieces: mornings are for toothbrushes; day is for labor; at night it curls around to tuck its tail and let all the built-up energies seep into soft bedding. And then the next day is does it again. As predictable as a night owl hunting mice in evening and sleeping through the day. Or a bird that starts crowing at four am sharp.

My own pet workday doesn’t have much room for dishes.

The past few months I’ve fallen out of schedule. For years, I’d been keeping one regularly. Now my nights are sporadic and my mornings are shorter. The loping, nine-to-five animal sits on top of me while I squirm around. I start misplacing things. I forget to buy bread at the grocery. I brush my teeth before shaving. Things are out of wack. At lunch, I come home and tell myself I’ll be productive. A whole hour and eating only takes me twenty, that’s forty good minutes to get things done. But by the time I’ve got my head screwed on and a full account of my senses, the lunch hour’s lapsed and I’ve done nothing. The diabolic dish army has another member. Marching, marching, forks at the ready.

I guess I’m just slumping. An early summer haze. I’ve been setting my alarm clock five minutes back each morning. I’m still hitting snooze, but the thought’s there. Anyway, that’s it for the coffee log tonight. I’ve got a date with destiny; a battle to fight; some dishes need cleaning.

Currently Reading: Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain

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Dishes are one of the tools that support life. Please take great care when using them.

Shoukei Matsumoto, A Monk’s Guide to a Clean House and Mind

Coffee Log, Day 331


Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee; back in the office after a week of off-site training; just as brown as stale wheat bread; just as oily as a nervous kid in gym class.

The dishes are piling up on my table again. I keep telling myself I’ll do something about them, but the excuses are easier than effort. I’ll get rid of them eventually. I always do.

I was talking to a guy who moved here from halfway across the country. I found myself suggesting places to go. I told him to check out Durham, to find something to eat in Raleigh, and to sleep tight in Cary. It was good advice, I thought. But it got me thinking about where I fit in to the central NC picture.

When I went to Duke, we were all afraid of Durham. There was this rumor that you’d lose a lot more than your wallet if you stepped too far off campus. And before that, when I was growing up, everywhere between Winston and Wilson seemed like a place to get away from. Turns out, it takes a lot of effort to get away from anything. And usually, those times you manage it, you end up somewhere pretty much the same as you left.

I got dinner with R at the Taco Bell. We picked it up, took it home. The guy at the drive-thru was so busy he walked away before taking R’s card. You could feel the sweet winter air hacking through our window. I was in a jacket. I almost took it off to feel the wind a little better.

As of writing this, all the dishes are still there.

Novel Count: 15,761

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami

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

Each neighborhood of the city appeared to be made of a different substance, each seemed to have a different air pressure, a different psychic weight: the bright lights and shuttered shops, the housing projects and luxury hotels, the fire escapes and city parks.

Teju Cole, Open City

Coffee Log, Day 72


Coffee: Organic Bolivian Blend, Trader Joe’s brand

There’s a cadre of dishes plotting in my room. It’s my fault, really. I’ve been negligent taking them to the dishwasher and now they’re lined up for revolution. No stopping now, I guess. Long live the rebellion!

I go through runs of keeping things neat and together and runs of bunkering down against mounting chores. I’m always happiest when I’m neat and together but I always think I’ll be happier letting something go, taking a break. Break-taking is necessary but the trick is knowing when and how to take one. It’s a tough trick, hard to master, much like walking tight-rope or taming lions.

Life and leisure are two wide escapes from each other. We have one but always want the other.

Currently Reading:
The Pardoner’s Tale, by John Wain

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“It’s good to leave your room super-messy when you’re away. Whoever tries to break into your room will think it has already been ransacked.” – Douglas Adams