Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 60

Hi.

Coffee: Americano, 42 & Lawrence; I got this from a cafe on the corner of Martin and Blount streets in Raleigh, NC, not 42 & Lawrence like the name might lead you to believe; it was a small shop with a crowded bar; the barista was pretty and had yellow paint on her fingernails; after she handed me the drink, I fumbled with the lids and had to have her help me find the right one; she said “That’s what I’m here for,” which was both sad and inspiring; the coffee was fantastic – cracking open a pecan and sucking out the meat on the first day of the season.

I went downtown to swear my oath to be a notary. It was a nice trip, a bit different than the average work day.

I’ve been avoiding Raleigh for a while now. The city’s gotten slung over with techies and start-ups and there’s new stores and it’s gentrified. You see poorer people on the street corners or (at best) hustling via ubers or cabs. Everyone else is in Italian leathers.

And today Raleigh was all of that – I walked out of the courthouse passing a bride and groom getting marriage licenses, his shirt immaculate and her dress in the thousands – but it was also a bunch of heavy-set men in loose JC Penny suits, determined women wading toward a difficult future, and some young baristas finding a niche in the corporate economy to help them get by.

I liked the tall old buildings. I almost took pictures, but I was too busy looking up at them to take my phone out. Raleigh is a mess of architecture, every block a different decade, but that mess still sticks together with a sweaty southern glue. It all comes back to brick – tobacco warehouses. There’s still a vision here of hard, sad, old, labor above the first floor cafes.

It felt good being outside today. I could still taste that old panic from the weekend – decades of social anxiety bubbling up – but Raleigh is my city, my home, so it was a little easier to shove it down. There’s a contemporary art museum downtown I’ve been wanting to go to but haven’t gotten the nerve. Today was a small step toward it’s front door.

Novel Update: I’m still writing, still working almost every day, but a lot of it is reworking and tweaking directions. I’ll post a new word count once I’ve gotten back in a groove.

Currently Reading: Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain

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Coffee: A beverage made by extracting the soluble solids from the seed of a tropical shrub through the use of hot water.

Menu, 42 & Lawrence website


Coffee Log, Day 43

Hi.

Coffee: House Espresso from Java Jive, Cary; purchased with a tip from Andrew. Most Espresso falls into two categories – burnt, dirty, something to shoot in a latte and forget about, bottom-shelf vodka; or, overly ripe and sour. Java Jive’s doesn’t speak to either. It’s warm and dark. It’s comfortable. The light in your driveway after a long day at work. Thanks for the coffee, Andrew.

I used to date a girl from Cary. She grew up here, went to school here and as far as I know her father still haunts the southern suburbs. I was frantically in love with her and followed where she pointed. Java Jive was her favorite cafe growing up. We used to buy Thai Iced coffees there.

I remember one afternoon when my ex had some business to take care of and I didn’t have a car. She dropped me off at Java Jive and I sat in the courtyard of the brick strip mall trying to write. I was working on what I hoped would be a novel. The sun was out. It was hot. I had trouble finding shade and lawn bugs kept nagging me. I wrote a chapter and gave up. A few months later, I gave up on the novel.

This week, I’ve been having lots of writer’s block. It’s frustrating. Walking the grounds of Java Jive, I saw the scraps of pulled-teeth ideas sleeping in the bushes. They were mangy old dogs but sitting pretty comfortably. It was nice to remember them. I drove home.

Currently Reading:
Tar Baby, Toni Morrison

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“The fresh smell of coffee soon wafted through the apartment, the smell that separates night from day.” – Haruki Murakami, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage

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