Coffee Log, Day 338

Hi.

Coffee: Cafe Pajaro Extra Dark, Trader Joe’s Brand; the last of the batch. Which is a good thing; I’ve been draining on these beans for too long. I’m a little mosquito that keeps nicking you at the pool. Our blood romance should have died in October.

I get paid $30 a month to not smoke cigarettes. It’s part of a wellness program at work, an insurance credit. My first year I didn’t sign up for it. The second year I did. I haven’t smoked since that night we held each other on the deck chairs in the apartment commons. I can’t think why I’d smoke again. Still, there’s this self image of myself in a plaid shirt with the buttons half done smoking out an open window. It’s the kind of sickness that gets in any self reported writer, like a rabid dog seeing everything as water.

But at least no-one’s paying me not to have a drink.

I read an article on whole grains. Typical stuff – health benefits, etc. Then I read an article linking fiber intake to longevity, and another that says gum disease may be the leading cause of alzheimer’s. Well, that’s probably true. A lot of people are getting paid to research it. But what can anyone do with that kind of information? You wake up and spit a little blood in your toothpaste – does that doom you? Probably, but it’s got to get in line behind a long list of other mundane travesties that laid claim on you first.

I remember this one morning a couple years ago where I got up and downed a shot of whiskey first thing. I was messed up, soul lost and heartbroken. I’m not an alcoholic and wouldn’t claim to be, but I’ve always known it runs in my family. So I think that morning I was trying to let something simple take me under. I was too scared to spend a long forever watching the blood come out of my gums. I wanted control. It’s what everyone wants.

Two things saved me from a second, or third, or lifetime of morning shots: the acceptance that people need me, for my tax dollars and cast vote if nothing else; and a deep, lovely cynicism – that all of us are Sisyphus, and the only way out is to accept the boulder as it crushes you, a tiny paper plane to pilot your spirit.

Novel Count: 18,933

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami

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One always finds one’s burden again.

Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus


Coffee Log, Day 226

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

I sit out a comfortable mid-evening at a friend’s condo. We watch everything but the big things, big news. Nothing we can do about the news so we might as well sit. Sit and drink. Everyone who wants to fight you will hold their fists for tomorrow.

I had lunch with my family, dinner with friends. In between i killed time and took a drive. I’d brought a book. I was in Burlington. The only open cafe on this side of town is a Starbucks. I thought about it. I haven’t bought a drink from the company since their tepid response to kicking out two black men for existing earlier this year. But I wanted to sit, wanted a drink, I drove past the store two times. Eventually, I sat in a parking lot and read ‘Cherry.’ I rolled the windows down. Cool, but they paved the road and the lot smelled like asphalt. I choked a few times. But I didn’t spend a dirty dime.

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

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WARNING: Flip-cap cover contains small parts and poses a CHOKING HAZARD for young children. – warning label on a Deer Park water bottle

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Coffee Log, Day 205

Hi.

Coffee: French Roast, Trader Joe’s

I don’t write particularly well when I’m drunk. I don’t do much of anything particularly well when I’m drunk. That said, I’m drunk.

I sat on the porch and re-read ‘Hear the Wind Sing,’ Haruki Murakami’s first novel. The storm was raging, my neighbors were chatting on the deck below me, and for a short while a latina in a gray tee bounced happily up-and-down on the third floor across from my apartment. She was pretty. She waved at someone else. All of us watched the creek surging like a well-fed boar.

In such circumstances it felt unconscionable not to have a drink. I drove to the nearest gas station. Far as I could tell, no trees were down, but the road was messy with leaves. It was warm, I listened to a collection of leaked Young Thug b-sides. What traffic there was was moving fast and with a purpose.

At the gas station, I bought a six-pack of Negra Modelo and the guy recognized me so I wasn’t carded. A few weeks ago, I told a Tinder date that the first beer I drank was Negra Modelo.

“Wow, pretty extreme for a first beer,” she said.

She was a pretty girl, sociologist, almost-professor, who spent the date talking over me and looking at a point somewhere on my forehead, never in the eye. There was no chemistry but I asked her out again anyway. “There was no chemistry,” she said. Hard to argue.

In all honesty, I gagged on Negra Modelo the first time I tried it. I was a Junior in college. I’d just turned 21. I went to the Armadillo Grill on campus – the only place with a bar – and ordered the drink with dinner. They gave me an open bottle. You weren’t supposed to take alcohol out of the bar but I was so nervous – so wrapped up in dreams of what the beer might do to me – that I tore foil off my chicken tacos and capped the drink. I stuffed it in a hoodie pocket and walked out, sweating the whole way home. Afterward, I played Call of Duty and drank half the beer. I called my girlfriend at the time – a short social worker who’d go on to get drunk one December years after we’d broken up and invite me over – and said I hated it. She was disappointed. S liked to drink.

‘Hear the Wind Sing’ holds up on a second pass, just as I’m sure it holds up on a third. It reminds me of The Tatami Galaxy – light, short, funny, heartbroken – it’s no surprise I’m in love.

When the latina waved I almost waved back. I would have liked to have invited her over, given her some of this six-pack to help me finish it. In a storm, anything’s possible. When the rain stopped, though, she disappeared.

Currently Reading: Autumn, Ali Smith

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“The Rat’s novel had two good things about it. First, there were no sex scenes; second, no one died. Guys don’t need any encouragement – left to themselves, they still die and sleep with girls. That’s just the way it is.” – Haruki Murakami, Hear the Wind Sing

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Coffee Log, Day 136

Hi.

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

I wore a pair of socks with octopus on them, each arm holding a different liquor, but they were calf-high so no-one saw. Then I went home and kicked the socks in a hamper and closed the closet and called L and he came over and we ate this and that until two hours were gone, gone, forever to the trenches, so we drove to the corner store. I bought a six-pack in the walk in freezer but I’m the only drinker so L waited for me in the car.

Nighttime in July, hiding with friends.

Currently Reading: LaRose, Louise Erdrich

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“Just as an octopus may have his den in some ocean cave, and come floating out a silent image of horror to attack a swimmer, so I picture such a spirit lurking in the dark of the house which he curses by his presence, and ready to float out upon all whom he can injure.” – Arthur Conan Doyle

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