Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 6

Hi.

Coffee Tea: Peach-Black Tea; I’ve been working through these bags on days when I’m not up to making coffee. I’ve had them for two years. They’ve been sitting in a ziploc bag on the kitchen counter. I remember precisely who gave them to me but not when she did. That’s the thing about memory – it leaves out the juicy bits. Oh, and the tea is fine. A little sweeter than I like it, but fine.

I took a notary class today. It was put on by Wake Tech and hosted at a country club. There were lots of chipped walls and old chairs in the country club. The locker room was full of cheap tennis shoes.

Enduring the class-time to be a notary is like waiting for a bus. You know exactly what’s coming, but it takes forever to get there. We talked through six hours of legalese. They gave each of us a manual. Inside the manual are 170 pages all saying the same thing. Bureaucracy – a bunch of people saying the same thing.

Michael Cohen gave his testimony to congress today. I watched most of it. The Republicans attacked his character and the Democrats talked about tax returns. Things we’ve been hearing for two years. And that’s not to say they aren’t important – we do need to see our President’s tax returns, and there are questions about Cohen’s credibility – but they’re still nothing new.

So anyway, pretty soon I’ll be able to watch someone sign a document and certify that signature in an official capacity. They drove home that no-one’s ever required to do a notary, that if you aren’t comfortable then just don’t do it. I couldn’t help thinking about the hearing. Two sides saying separate things over and over. Who gets to set the definition for ‘comfortable?’

Novel Count: 27,062

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami

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

I live in the Managerial Age…

C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters


Coffee Log, Day 217

Hi.

Coffee: French Roast, Trader Joe’s Brand

Donald Trump Jr. tweeted “It’s nice to see a conservative man fight for his honor and his family.” He was talking about Brett Kavanaugh. Around the same time, in response to Sen. Patrick Leahy questioning Kavanaugh on his arguably misogynistic comments in his High School yearbook, Kavanaugh defended himself by saying: “I busted my butt in academics…I finished one in the class…I played sports. I was captain of the varsity basketball team, I was wide receiver and defensive back on the football team…I did my service projects at the school which involved going to the soup kitchen downtown.” Effectively, he was arguing his good character as a shield against Ford’s allegations. Tellingly, his arguments reflected every pedestal of the perfect Patriarchal Male: smart; ambitious; well-educated; a sportsman; given to charity, but only in one-off increments, donations of free time.

I want to relate a different picture.

My whole life, I’ve struggled with the label of my Manhood. It was front and center, glaring, prominent. I was well-enough-to-do. I was smart, academically gifted. I had no talent in sports but made up for it in other extracurriculars. I won every award my schools could offer. I won some State awards, too. Early on, I was popular, later I was bullied for my successes, but even that bullying added to my mystique. I transferred districts in eighth grade. The prettiest girl in my new school came up to me and said “It’s cool that you stand out so much.”

I’ve talked a few times on here about the girls I kissed in Elementary. There were a few of them, always unwanted, but one girl, K, became my ‘girlfriend’ after, probably because she felt she had to. I remember hanging with her at the skating rink. She was with friends. I wanted to skate. She told me “Later,” I said “Now.” We skated a run, she hit me. It was hard enough to hurt, but that felt like license: I took her hand and held it for five minutes. Eventually she went away. We stopped sitting together in class. I couldn’t bring myself to talk to her. After that year, we didn’t speak again. When I asked my parents why she hit me, they said little girls have a strange way of showing affection. Teachers, friends, friends’ parents said the same. I didn’t tell anyone what happened after – that I took her hand and held it, half to stop her from punching me, half because I knew I could. Still, I’d seen love. I’d watch my mother cry when our old dog died, then again when she buried her father. I watched my dad get rosy when he came home and took my mom and I out to dinner. I’d seen love. Whatever me and K had, that wasn’t it.

I felt sick for a long time. I started running as far as I could go in the opposite direction. For six years through High School into the beginning of college, I called myself celibate. For even longer, a tee-totaler. It was it’s own form of arrogance, running away from myself instead of fixing the man who knew he could take anything he wanted. Eventually, I lived with a woman, got possessive, fell in love, broke up, and tried to reckon with my Manhood for the first time in a long time.

Being a Man in America is a terrific line-dance: check the footwork, perform the moves, take the girl. People like Trump, like Kavanaugh, have built long careers out of flashy performances. Trump Jr. said Kavanaugh is a man who protects his family. What he means is an animal bearing teeth for territory. That nuclear bubble, that man-and-woman-and-kids, that wife who might be a career woman in 2018 but who still goes home and does the laundry, all of this is currency paid to Men who can perform well, who know the moves, who dance so sumptuously that society forgives them the women whose lives they snuff at 15, the girls they tried to strangle.

Fuck that forever.

I don’t have an answer for what a Man should be. I think about it often, spend hours with my own damn face in the mirror. But America’s vision is wrong, that much I’m clear about. It needs to change. Between the Women’s March and #MeToo, it looks like it will. As usual, we place the burden on women, force them to fight the fight we all should be fighting. I can’t know what Ford and others are going through, can’t in good conscience say I’m a perfect ally, but for everyone’s sake – men, women, my own soul – I can say my blood is there, my thoughts are trying, I’ll vote better, live scrutinously, atone humbly, and teach whatever son I may someday have to hold a different sense of ‘Manhood.’

Until then, I’ll call bullshit when I see it: Kavanaugh, go to hell.

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

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the BorderRAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

“However, once he was selected and it seemed like he was popular and that it wasn’t a sure vote, I was calculating daily the risk benefit for me of coming forward and wondering whether I would just be jumping in front of a train that was headed to where it was headed, to where it was headed anyway, and that I would just be personally annihilated.” – Christine Blasey Ford

IMG_1694

Coffee Log, Day 216

Hi.

Coffee: French Roast, Trader Joe’s Brand

I don’t remember when the insomnia started. Years, at least. I can’t fall asleep, can’t stay asleep, don’t sleep well. I used to pass the box for The Machinist in a movie rental back in High School. I never picked it up but Christian Bale looked like death and horror on the cover so I read the box: “Man suffers debilitating insomnia…” Anyway, the image stuck with me.

Other oddities of getting old: I can’t really smell anymore. Flowers, sure; piss, sure; something weaker, not so much. I also can’t quite hear because my ears are always stuffed. And speaking of stuffy, I don’t remember what it feels like to have two clean nostrils. In fact, the left channel is frozen over like an English winter. Maybe that says something to the smelling.

Life fills you up to spilling with humors, bile, juices. They become blood brothers. You can’t think to leave them. Maybe they chase out dreams, diminish anticipation, but the dull numb throbbing is something you welcomed, something you wanted, an amorphous scuttle stuck into you to keep the daily doldrums from spilling out.

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

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the BorderRAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

“The last refuge of the insomniac is a sense of superiority to the sleeping world.” – Leonard Cohen

IMG_1693