Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 123

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

There’s a certain kind of smell that only surfaces in early evening. It’s got to be light out, but not so light that you’re comfortable putting one foot in front of the other. It’s got to be warm, not hot, and cool, not cold. There should be leaves on the trees but not so many leaves that you can’t see the shapes scurrying through the branches. Somewhere within walking distance – but out of sight – must be a moderately busy road.

The back of your lover’s neck coaxed out from under the covers, eight hours of untouched time still sticking to it. That’s the smell.

I’m off one drug and onto another. The past week has been exhausting, a bad reaction, a panic attack without the panic. I’ll start the new drug, an SSRI, on Monday, and who knows whether it will help me, or change me, or do anything at all to me, but I’m interested (and a little apprehensive) about the ride.

There’s no one answer to life. But there are evenings where the air smells like old memories, and that’s usually enough.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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My day is done, and I am like a boat drawn on the beach, listening to the dance-music of the tide in the evening.

Rabindranath Tagore, Stray Birds

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 74

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

This week has felt weightless. On Sunday, I opened a door inside myself. I don’t know what the key was – writer’s block, two back-to-back showers, a little liquor. When the door opened, air came out. Thick, heavy air that had been building up in me for a long time. It rolled across the floor like spilled oil. It flooded my home, my shoes, my bedroom. Since then I’ve been standing on the film, two inches up, weightless.

R and I walked to where the food trucks were supposed to be but the trucks weren’t there. Dejected, we drove to Chipotle. The restaurant was empty when we walked in but it was still noisy. The line leader was yelling at two new associates. He kept calling them kids. One looked scared and embarrassed. The other looked smug.

Just before dinner, I sat outside for half an hour tossing words at my laptop. Only a couple stuck, but that didn’t bother me so much today. I had one of those big plush chairs that’s treated to survive the rain. Beside me, around the fire pit, a man and woman were watching their kid swing on the swingset while talking plans for the future. She kept saying “If you say so,” he kept saying “This is what you need to do.” On the other side of me, two kids were playing sevens. For those that don’t know (and I didn’t know until tonight), sevens involves slapping patterns on a table together. It was loud and distracting, frustratingly lovely.

Walking around tonight, I noticed a dead flower on the sidewalk. A week ago I’d taken a picture of the flower and posted it on here. Back then it was vibrant, now not so much. My instinct was to find that kind of sad, but then I looked closer and there were so many more details to the dead flower: pulled-out fibers, sour yellows, a lively brown slime. Ugly on the surface but beautiful in function: a tiny generator of new life. I’m sure there’s a metaphor in there somewhere but I’m too tired to find it. I’ll leave that up to you.

Currently Reading: Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain

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I might pull up late to class, but I always show up

Sylvan LaCue, 5:55

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 68

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

I’ll start this predictably: I took a walk.

Six o’clock rolls into seven like buses coming and going from a busy city station, especially on a weeknight, and especially in the summer. Time goes by.

After dinner, six had already vanished, but there was still much light out, so I walked around. Families were sitting on the lawn chairs. Kids were playing on the playground. Two ten year olds had their scruffy dog at the dog park and were trying to teach her to fetch.

A warm evening.

Earlier, I talked with a woman who said I must be a musician. She was watching my hands, said I had long fingers. I told her I used to play the cello and she said she used to play the violin. She was round and short and wore a bracelet of the Madonna on one hand and a ring of horned skulls on the other. When she talked, it drew me up. A strange picture. Different than how I see myself.

My walk ended at the apartment, same as I started. At the stairs, I was stopped by Sally the Cat. She waited for me to kneel down then drew around me counterclockwise three times, brushing up against my back, same as she always does. A small, indiscernible ritual. But I feel protected now.

Currently Reading: Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain

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Everything ritualistic must be strictly avoided, because it immediately turns rotten. Of course a kiss is a ritual too and it isn’t rotten, but ritual is permissible only to the extent that it is as genuine as a kiss.

Ludwig Wittgenstein, Culture and Value


Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 48

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

Countdown to my reading as featured author at the Third Wednesday Open Mic:
WHERE: Fig Raleigh, Raleigh NC
WHEN: 04/17/19; 6:30p.m. (open mic sign-ups start at 6:00p.m.)
DAYS REMAINING: 6
Come out and support the Coffee Log!

I walked up a hill after work today. It wasn’t very big. A kid came roller-blading down the hill. She lives in my neighborhood and said ‘Hi!’ At the top, I said hello to a couple couples and their dogs. The sun was out but low enough that it didn’t burn. Then I got in my car and went to the store.

Driving. I kept the radio up and the windows down. The college station was playing grimy electronica. I liked the music. I took an extra loop through a neighborhood before stopping at the quick shop. The guy at the quick shop knows me. Not by name, and we never say anything to each other, but he’s always there and I’m there often enough. So he didn’t card me when I bought a six-pack.

I don’t know why I bought the beer. I thought it over the whole way home. It’s a Thursday. At home, I put the beer in the refrigerator. I looked at it in it’s plastic bag. Earlier in the day, I got a call from a coworker who was in a traffic accident. She was distraught. I pulled the plastic bag a bit to look at the bottles. They were starting to condensate. I closed the refrigerator door.

On the way back down the hill – driving home – I saw that kid again. She said “All these cars, I keep having to move out of the way.” I said “Yeah that’s no fair.” Now it’s late at night. The lights are still on. Even in the kitchen. Not a lot of things are fair.

Novel Count: 37,459

Currently Reading: The Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes

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The wastes of snow on the hill were ghostly in the moonlight. The stars were piercingly bright.

Maud Hart Lovelace, Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown


Coffee Log, Day 239

Hi.

Coffee: Colombian, Starbucks Brand (grocery store bought, a gift)

Whenever I remember taking nighttime walks around Duke’s campus it’s always cold, even if I took the walk in August. Here are a few examples:

  1. A breezy Spring Semester romp through the Engineering campus. I’m bored, lonely, talking on the phone. It’s a weekend, maybe, because there aren’t any students. I see cars come and go from the Divinity school. This part of campus is steep; clean; new. The cafes are closed and I’m disappointed because I’d like to visit. Everything is new to me. I’m a Philosophy major, nobody needs me over here.
  2. The week before my Sophomore or Junior year, I’m passing back and forth over a ditch cut between two dorm buildings. I’m waiting on a woman I’ll often wait for, even many years later and well after she’s no longer waiting for me. We haven’t seen each other since last year and there’s a whole summer’s worth of conversation. We circle Old Chem, pass Perkins library, and spend time admiring the statuary on the Chapel. It’s hot and balmy, but the memory’s like freezer frost. I like to transport myself to that time before some of my most important questions had answers.
  3. This time it’s actually winter. We’ve had a snow. I’m walking late in good company. Couples throwing snowballs, kids taking pictures on second-gen iphones. I’m talking to a friend who’s going to school in Charlotte. We’re both intoxicated on a mutual distaste for parties and alcohol. Underneath me, snow melts like modern glaciers. My hot body, raging at all the wrong parts of the world, but breathing that cold air brilliantly.

I took a walk tonight and before I did I put on a sweater. The first sweater since March. The apartments had gotten dark and I made my usual circuit. Bewitched by the lights of the clubhouse, I took a detour. Our community espresso machine can make a hot chocolate; I hadn’t had one, now I have. It seemed right to baptize the night in unnecessary sweetness. The first Fall evening only happens once a year.

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

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“Some days you get up and you already know that things aren’t going to go well. They’re the type of days when you should just give in, put your pajamas back on, make some hot chocolate and read comic books in bed with the covers up until the world looks more encouraging. Of course, they never let you do that.” – Bill Watterson

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Coffee Log, Day 94

Hi.

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

Walking in the parking lot: girl in purple jogs by, seen her a few times; crickets; last ditch birds holding that daysong; every light’s on at the apartments; the moon is woebegone.

I left home to make home out of nothing. A high-pitched air conditioner; it’s all still following me.

Currently Reading:
Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Way of Kings, Brandon Sanderson

Even so, there were times I saw freshness and beauty. I could smell the air, and I really loved rock ‘n’ roll. Tears were warm, and girls were beautiful, like dreams. I liked movie theaters, the darkness and intimacy, and I liked the deep, sad summer nights. – Haruki Murakami, Dance Dance Dance

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