Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 176

Hi.

Coffee: Bottled Cold Brew Coffee, Trader Joe’s Brand; for bottled coffee it had a good taste; hell, it had a good taste to cupped coffee too; quick like late nights you spend on the town; full-bodied as a stranger’s bed

I got in a drinking contest with a two-year old. He had a fizzy water and I had a beer. Every time he drank, he made this face that said ‘what is this,’ squinted eyes, wrinkled nose. Then he’d point at me and I’d take a swig of pale ale, doing my best impression of him. This went on a while. Finally, though, the kid beat me. I had to put the can down. When he saw I was finished, he pointed at me again, only this time he was laughing. Fair game, buddy – you won.

We went in the woods this morning, me and E. She was hunting mushrooms. I tried to be her spotter but all the ones I picked out were wrinkled with white maggots. It made me think I might be haunted – drawn to the dead decomposers, the ghosts of ghosts. It was hot in the morning but not too hot. There were other families in the woods. I watched a dad strap his daughter in a backpack and take off running. She bounced like a dropped coin all caught in the bar lights, bright and happy, two white teeth, no older than my drinking buddy.

At a table under a black locust tree you showed me videos of the two-year-old playing ‘freeze.’ He watched over your shoulder and smiled at himself. It made me wonder what it must be like to grow up knowing your moments are there to dance with at the press of play – that the slippery little details of who you are have been saved to record. His eyes went wide to shots of himself splashing in a tub. You held the phone like the suds might slip out.

Where’s all the heat go when nights rolls in? Does it board a train headed southbound, knock on crisp red doors in Florida suburbs, lounge around with a TV dinner drinking hot coffee? Does it stay awake in Caribbean state bedrooms, red-eyed and frustrated, seeing itself in a thousand stars that are too far to get in touch with? I don’t know.

Midnight comes in, old dead bark, growing mushrooms.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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Like locusts shall they gather themselves together, the servants of the Star and the Snake, and they shall eat up everything that is upon the earth.

Aleister Crowley

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 130

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

The old creek-bed dried out. There was a dead snake at the head of the road. Now that the sun’s gone down, everyone’s coming out to walk their dogs, only the heat’s not done and the dogs are flustered, scared of the way the asphalt feels when it’s been cooked.

If your friend tells you the world’s not dying, you must smack them, aiming for the spot triangulated between their nose and eyes. If your partner tells you something similar, coax them to bed, and try to prove the world’s worth loving, breathing deep so you’re sucking up more of the hot carbon to prove your point.

This week, there were record-setting high temperatures in Europe.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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He who cannot put his thoughts on ice should not enter into the heat of dispute.

Friedrich Nietzsche

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 94

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

I got home and filled a white bowl with tap water then set it outside. There’s a longhair black and white cat that comes around. I saw her poking under my neighbor’s car. It’s 100 degrees. She was hiding from the heat so I figured she could use the water. When I came back, though, she’d run away. I left the bowl on the ledge we use for putting down bags as we get the door. I haven’t seen go for the water. She’s a skittish thing. But I once found her meowing at midnight outside my window so I know she knows how to get here. Tonight, at midnight, maybe she’ll come have a drink.

All day, the heat was all anyone could talk about. Pundits puttered about droughts and early fires. There was a break around noon when some clouds came over but then it was right back to the convection. Most of the gossip goes like this: “I’d have to wake up two hours earlier if I was to mow my lawn today!” One guy came in with a green hat and long sleeves. He works outside, construction. The heat must have been unbearable in all those layers, but I guess it’s better than getting burned.

Every year, the same old voices are loudly denying climate change. Meanwhile, a hole opened up so big over Australia that it’s killed off the Great Barrier Reef. It’s okay, I think, to destroy something if you’ve got a purpose. It’s okay to cut down a forest to build houses for your family. But the people bearing the brunt of climate change aren’t the ones benefiting from the destruction. Mostly those too poor to move out of the way of tidal waves or heat death. That’s a bit depressing. It’s aggressive. One man turning up the temperature in all the other rooms while sipping ice-cold margaritas. We should all be fixing margaritas for each other, or else settling for a splash of tequila in a salted shot.

Burn the world a little bit if you have to, but do so equitably, and with enough sense to leave the house out of the fire.

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

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Once again there was the desert, and that only.

Stephen King, The Gunslinger

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 91

Hi.

Coffee: Pike Place, Apartment office coffee; on the way to the lounge to get my morning coffee, I passed a black and white cat; she was sitting in the grass; I sat down and knocked my thermos on the ground to lure her but she didn’t bite; eventually, I walked off and on my way back she was gone; like that cat, the coffee tasted best when I first sipped it, like it was something powerful and old, only to discover halfway down that I was drinking sawdust

Feeling a total lack of ambition around six o’clock, I fixed a bowl of instant ramen for dinner. The kind they used to call ‘oriental’ but now they say is ‘soy-flavored,’ which is both more accurate and less problematic. I put two packs of noodles in a white bowl but only stirred in one serving of veggie bouillon.I like the way the colors change when you add the powder. I like the way deep browns swirl through the water until it’s obscured.

Today was one of those days when nothing’s working. I broke my headset for the computer and had to buy another. I tore apart a chip bag I was only trying to open. These sorts of days happen to everyone, a confluence, but most often in the summer. When it’s summer, the heat has you at your boiling point, so it’s no wonder things start to spill over.

Downstairs, around ten this morning, two kids were catching frogs. They caught a couple dozen, all tiny, just born, or rather just morphed from tadpoles. They kept the frogs in a giant terrarium and watched them hop at the sides. A few frogs died. They buried them. E told them to let them go so many times that they finally listened. I thought it was kind of sad to see the frogs gone, but all kids have to learn about their power. The fact that their fingers can do things, not subtle, abrasive. Who knows if they took the lesson?

Currently Reading: NOTHING! will pick a new book soon

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“Well,” said the frog, “what are you going to do about it?”

Patricia C. Wrede, Dealing with Dragons

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 84

Hi.

Coffee: Americano, Caribou Coffee; I thought about going inside the shop but when I drove by the parking lot was filled; so I got my coffee from the drive-through; even treated myself to a slice of lemon cake; the woman at the window had deep green lacquer on her fingernails; it reminded me of mountainsides in the early morning; I told her I liked the color, she said ‘thanks’; later, drinking the coffee, I thought I could taste a bit of wood-bark, pine-sap, morning dew

A hot day. Now that we’ve passed mid-may, summer’s taken it’s gloves off, spit out the tobacco, and is squatting wide-legged in the fields ready to take on all comers. I went out around five to pick up a few things from the pharmacy and got socked in the face. One hit of that humidity and I was walking like I had the weight of the world on me. All the thermostats were reading 90. Like I said, a hot day.

Nevertheless, I spent a lot of the day outside.

I’ve been re-reading After Dark by Murakami. I finished my re-read today. The last time I let my eyes on the book, I was 17 and wading through another hot summer. I was away at an academic camp and within the first week had torn my ACL (a particularly vigorous game of ping-pong was what did me in). So there I was, young and dumb and largely alone, limping around a college campus on crutches, trying to keep up with the world as it whipped by. Because of that, coming back to After Dark has been like finding all those boxes in your parents’ basement full of family photos – you squint at the pictures and try to make them look familiar without getting too embarrassed. Then, in the end, you stare so long so you forget they’re even photos of you.

I was reading on the porch with a cup of peppermint tea beside me. The hot day matched the tea so that you couldn’t tell which was making all that steam. I sweated out my journey into old, semi-blank memory albums, and when the tea was gone and the book was almost over, I had a beer. Finally, soaked to the bone, I finished what I’d come there to do. I closed the book. I put down the bottle. About to go inside, I heard a clapping sound off the balcony. I looked over and saw a family of geese. They were huddled together, pecking through the clover, hunting for bugs. Some of them were so young their adult feathers hadn’t come in. I didn’t know what to make of them – these beautiful, surprising, cuddly creatures walking by – and I still don’t. But I think they’ll be one of those memories I’ll open up fifteen years from now and hardly recognize, no matter how much I might want to.

Currently Reading: NOTHING! Couldn’t get back into Bourdain, no matter how much I tried; will pick a new book soon

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A giant motherboard of geese,
unruffled by the state
police, swarmed in unison

Kristen Henderson, Of My Maiden Smoking

Coffee Log, Day 355

Hi.

Coffee: Sumatra Medium Dark, Trader Joe’s Brand

The rain turned our city to a salt lick. All that urban runoff. Wet tar, natural gas heaters. Mother of pearl pools full of oil. I wonder what the rain looked like ten thousand years ago? I bet it was sweeter – nothing but the plants to soak it up.

You and I are killing our world. But it’s not really our fault. When you’re born in a world where the only comfort is consumable, you consume it. And when it’s gone you look for more. Nothing wrong with turning on the heater on a cold February day. Nothing wrong with washing more paper down the toilet. It’s the world you know. It’s an edifice carefully crafted by your grandfather. All of our grandfather’s were woodworkers, tinkering away in converted closets on spare time, trying to build a world where their grandchildren wouldn’t have to think or hurt or dream ever again.

My mother was talking about this sunspot that’s going to save us. It’s a grand cooling, where the sun will lower it’s radiation mercifully for a few hundred years. And maybe it will happen, maybe it will counteract the industrial glut we choke on daily, but to what end? So those of us with money and power can go on digging graves of dinosaurs and burning them to take trips to the beach, or our daughter’s to prom, or our ailing parents to that closest hospital that’s still a dozen miles away? Sure, because those are all nice things. Meanwhile, the people truly left behind will watch their crops shake and shatter at a change of a few degrees. One way or the other, whether the temperature goes up or down, we push off our consequences on the least fortunate.

A lovely electric glow on this computer screen. Burning time so I can write this tiny letter to you all. It’s all I know how to do.

Novel Count: 23,882

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami

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[I]f I can be sure of any aspect of your character, it is that you are not as I. Since all I can do here is imagine you in my image, of course I have failed. I was as fossil fuels made me. They kept my lights on. Hence I who imagine myself to be open-minded will appear to you as deservedly dead, fossilized in the stratum of my own period’s prejudices.

William T. Vollmann, No Good Alternative: Volume Two of Carbon Ideologies


Coffee Log, Day 190

Hi.

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

Late August heatwave. My dash reads 98. At least I parked in shade.

A busy day – at work, after work. Thursday smells like the weekend you can’t bite into, green bananas.

I want to take a trip for Labor Day. I had two trips planned but both fell through. For a few years, each get-out-of-town has been preceded by pop-up drama, heartfelt taking stock, calendar confusion. I might go somewhere alone. I might climb a mountain to remind myself I can.

Currently Reading: Nothing! Still poking through some books, will settle soon.

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“Jumping from boulder to boulder and never falling, with a heavy pack, is easier than it sounds; you just can’t fall when you get into the rhythm of the dance.” – Jack Kerouac

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