Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 257


Coffee:  Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

A woman talked to me about carpets. Her father had been in the business. She told me how to cut them, where to trim, how to corner, what to do with rooms and halls. “High pile,” she said, “you have to be careful.” And I was already getting lost in it, like a bug sniffing through the fabric on all fours.

She also talked about Jordan Lake. Her father owned 120 acres of farmland before they flooded it. Prime Chatham, top dollar, in walks the Army Corp of Engineers, a booker, a paycheck, not a lot of options. “We could leave or we could learn to scuba, that’s what they told us.” Eminent domain and all that. Just a few weeks ago I had a picnic on the lakeside where we watched the late summer sink in.

They’re adding on to the Triangle Expressway, or trying to. The bills are up for legislation on account of environmental concerns, this or that endangered oyster. But like all slow moving bulls of government it’ll eventually charge, cutting up the land with buyouts, evicting 285 homes and businesses. A toll road, so you’ll pay for the freedom of driving over someone else’s memories.

The carpet in our apartment is crusty mustard. It’s bunched and fickle with how it lumps up or thins, and so you don’t think it’s all our fault most of the deformities were here before us. I’d call it medium pile. It stays the same color no matter what way you’re looking at it. They’ll strip it when we move.

Currently Reading: Another Country, James Baldwin

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

Property breeds lawyers, I said, forbearing to add a belief that unfortunately property now seemed the only thing palpable enough to demand the respect of governments, and perhaps was the generating clout against encroachments on the spiritual protections for speech, assembly, and so on. It might turn out that without the right to possess we are not sure we really have the right to speak and to be.

Arthur Miller, Salesman in Beijing

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 95


Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

There was a highway beside the neighborhood where I grew up. It didn’t look like a highway and everyone called it Church St. It was two lanes most places. There were many spots you couldn’t go faster than 35. But take it far enough East and you’d hit the Atlantic, far enough West and you’d be in California. It’s strange to think of that packed asphalt having the power to take you to a different time zone.

The NC DOT is currently trying to extend Interstate 540 through the southern half of the Triangle. They want it to be a beltline, something to take the edge off the traffic and accelerate peripheral growth. Maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe it isn’t. Either way, the project involves tearing down 1800 acres of forests and buying out 209 homes with eminent domain. That’s a lot of change for a road that won’t even take you to California.

Tonight, two kids were playing on the swings at my apartment complex. The sun had gone down enough to take the edge off another hot day. The kids ran, jumped, and twisted up the swings like two steel hangs of DNA. Neither of them’s thinking of a highway, or property laws, or the Atlantic, but I wonder what this town will look like when they’re my age? What will be the ratio of neighborhoods to highways?

Currently Reading: Have picked a new book but not had the chance to start it yet; more info to come

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

The difference between a path and a road is not only the obvious one. A path is little more than a habit that comes with knowledge of a place. It is a sort of ritual of familiarity. As a form, it is a form of contact with a known landscape. It is not destructive. It is the perfect adaptation, through experience and familiarity, of movement to place; it obeys the natural contours; such obstacles as it meets it goes around.

Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays