Coffee Log, Day 259

Hi.

Coffee: Sumatra Medium-Dark, Trader Joe’s Brand

It’s light in the mornings after the roll-back of daylight savings. I’m sitting here with the curtains open. It’s been a busy morning, it’ll be a busy day. Manageable, though.

A North Carolina autumn is a fickle thing. I’ve been working in Apex this week. That town’s about ten miles west of Cary but over there the leaves are vanishing in fits of red. Outside my window, it’s mostly green.

Every year, I tell myself I’ll chase the seasons a little more. I’d like to be the kind of person that takes a trip to the mountains just to watch the world change. Instead, while fall drives by in it’s pick-up truck with new rims and a fresh paint job, hollering at the cities and chasing down the summer birds, I’m stuck in my apartment with the blinds drawn and some music going thinking about a few separate seasons from now, what I’ll be doing and how I’ll get there.

Ambition is a bad flu – unavoidable until you get over it.

Novel Count: 6,376 words

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

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“At the age of six I wanted to be a cook. At seven I wanted to be Napoleon. And my ambition has been growing steadily ever since.” – Salvador Dali

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Coffee Log, Day 238

Hi.

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

Woke up with a crick in my neck. I took two ibuprofen but it stuck around. Now I’ve got this itinerant friend, nag-nag-nagging me at home, at lunch, at work. It’s nice to have company, but he’s a little overbearing.

I went to the apartment office after work. I’m expecting a package, it hadn’t come. The managers were meeting in a huddle around a corner desk. They were talking whispers, hushed when I came in. The walls were done in fake spider webs and somebody had managed to string a few purple lights. Smiling on the ceiling was a plastic ghost. In the midst of such a scene, I can only assume the managers were conducting a seance. I guess our new neighbors will slip right through the thin walls.

A neighborhood kid came by to borrow a key fob for the gym. She was in a sweatshirt. It was chilly, already getting dark. I thought to myself: “I guess it’s Autumn.” There’s a special kind of wonder to the back half of the year. All the biggest holidays. It’s a cold, dark time to be an adult, but the best time to be a kid. When you’re ten years young and half my size, you’re still getting tingles as you look for what’s behind every corner. Then you grow up and see that it’s only dead grass and hoarfrost.

But the grass looks good when it dies, and frost gets your lover’s lips pink. Seasons change and change you with them.

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

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“Winter collapsed on us that year. It knelt, exhausted, and stayed.” – Emily Fridlund, History of Wolves
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Coffee Log, Day 223

Hi.

Coffee: Cafe Pajaro Extra Dark, Trader Joe’s Brand; I bought the first tin of this blend when I moved to Cary a year and two months ago. Our empty apartment – I brewed you quick and hot in the morning; I had the place to myself; nothing to keep me away from simplicity.

If September wears the vintage polka-dot dress to the party, October’s got the fitted romper. She’s less rambunctious but somehow less reserved. Of all the drinks she picks a Malbec and she sits in the corner where the lit geeks congregate (and conjugate, and…) but doesn’t talk to them. She’s there for the atmosphere – or at least that’s what you’re guessing. You’ve been watching her since 8:30, everyone has, and you’re pretty sure she hasn’t left the seat.

Finally, at last call, you get the courage to start a conversation, but there’s just a hat, gloves, chapstick where she’d been sitting. She left it. She didn’t really need these things. The host is piss-drunk and his partner’s taking care of him. You let yourself out. Outside, on the curb, you look up at the building’s still-lit windows and think about October’s wire-frames. You wish you could have gone home with her, but that leaves you feeling guilty of something deep and dark. It’s a long walk to the car. For the first time since graduation, you smoke a cigarette.

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

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“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” – L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

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Coffee Log, Day 222

Hi.

Coffee: French Roast, Trader Joe’s Brand

A dog-walk day.

I took a stroll. Sundown, 2nd of October. My mouth was still wet from dinner. I started on the second floor landing, thought about the book I wrote that started on a second floor landing. Kids on the playground; parents at the picnic tables. I crossed the creek and sidled the first floor apartment that’s got a screen door. The TV was going. A courtroom drama. Objection!

It wasn’t until I passed the pool that I started to see them: bipedallers puttering around with leashes leading every size of furball into the first comfortable day of Autumn. I think I counted five in all, about four more than most days. They fell to two categories: guys in cargo shorts looking bored as toy poodles pulled them around; women in athletic wear talking to their cell phones. That dogs yipped and bapped at each other, yipped and bapped at me, made up for every lack of interest in their owners. To them, it was Christmas. To them it was the fifteen-hundred down on a new car, new wheels, broad October, open roads, wild nights. For five to ten minutes, the dogs got to remember that their paws once clawed beds of dirt, hunted woods and fields. For the same amount of time, the people got to think about what show to watch when they got home.

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

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“To his dog, every man is Napoleon; hence the constant popularity of dogs.” – Aldous Huxley

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Coffee Log, Day 179

Hi.

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

1:00pm, before all last night’s clouds are gone, I sit outside. I’m reading LaRose. The book’s worked me over. I know Snow and Josette; I’m afraid of Landreaux; Romeo reminds me of the old man who got evicted down the street from my parents, though a few decades younger.

I made a batch of E’s barley tea and let it take the edge off summer. She’d swept the deck but left the spiders. They baby their eggsacs, welcome the corners. A crane fly sits on the glass door behind me. Can’t figure out how to get inside, or maybe can’t accept it’s never going to.

Twenty, thirty pages… kids are carefully rambunctious by the creek, school starts next week, fall takes the bark out of the dog days of summer. Occasionally, I look across our building at other decks, stacked like cardboard. Our third-story neighbor has made a mess. Shelves collapsing under boxes. Six potted cactus. A menagerie of dreamcatchers that probably smell like last night’s rain. Put too many things together and you can’t tell what’s what.

Sometimes, I wish I could have obsessions. I’ve tried collecting: beer bottles; plastic models; foreign currency. Lost a lot of it, packed the rest. Instead, my apartment’s got bare white walls and a bursting schedule – if I’m not working, I’m thinking about the next best way to work.

Accomplishment – the trick, I’ve learned, is that you never get there. That perfect soft hand you fell in love with in first grade, running track, two to three steps and always behind. When they bury my neighbors, some son or daughter will take detailed notes on graph paper about this and that cactus, vibrant wall-hangs, store-bought stories.

What sorts of things will be left to make sense of me?

Currently Reading: LaRose, Louise Erdrich

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“I would like to be the air that inhabits you for a moment only. I would like to be that unnoticed and that necessary.” – Margaret Atwood

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