Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 170

Hi.

Coffee:  Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

I’ve been sitting here for fifteen minutes thinking about what to write today. My mind keeps getting stuck on violence.

I was reading articles about India. Modi’s grab of Kashmir, Pakistan’s reaction. I’m not Indian. I’m not Pakistani. I don’t know much about Kashmir. What I’m trying to say is that I can’t speak on the conditions creating the conflict. But reading about the hot afternoon protests and the armed guards walking the streets stuck a knot in my head.

I watched a video about conservationists catching hellbenders up near Asheville. Hellbenders are a particularly large and ruddy kind of salamander. To catch them, the men and women waded in thigh-high river water and turned over submerged stones. They brought the slimy red bodies into a plastic tract to measure them. Hellbenders are good indicators of a stream’s health – they’re sensitive, so they die in poor pollution.

In Canada, they just found the bones of two boys who left home to commit murder. They started with an old man who lived alone and caught more attention by killing an American woman and her Canadian boyfriend. As far as anyone can tell, they were dead set on committing the murders, not out of any particular ideology, but a deep personal desire. There’s a clip circulating of one of the kid’s Dad’s talking about how he knows his son is going to die. How he still loves him. How he’s sorry he couldn’t save him. This was before they found the bones.

I think about cool, running water. The weight of the world is a river stone.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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I like it, I’m not gonna crack
I miss you, I’m not gonna crack
I love you, I’m not gonna crack
I killed you, I’m not gonna crack

Nirvana, Lithium

Coffee Log, Day 145

Hi.

Coffee: India Extra Bold Roast, Cafe Crema; the most expensive cup of average coffee I’ve had.

I’m getting pretty good at stir-fry. It only took two years.

Today I got the heat right, the onions clear but crunchy, tofu golden. I learned a trick: marinate your oil. I tossed garlic and chili flakes for thirty seconds in sunflower oil; the garlic pop-cracked like bullwhips and then the apartment smelled so good.

I talked to a coworker today about going vegetarian and I talked to my cousin about the same thing yesterday. My coworker was real worried about my protein intake. My cousin was real worried about the privilege behind the choice.

They’re both right – I’ve had days where I didn’t eat anything hearty; I’ve gone to bed feeling faint. But those days are rare because tofu’s plentiful around here. But in Crossett, Arkansas where my cousin grew up? Or the stern brick apartments where my students grew up? Or hell, any of the apartments around me made home by vibrant families, two-year old sets of new teeth and new smiles that can’t make a dollar, can’t provide for themselves…

The cheapest food I can think off is a giant sack of rice from the Korean grocery but you have to have the mental capital to know that. To the exhausted, poor, overworked American purple hearts, it’s more likely your head goes to white bread, 25 cent chicken ramen, dollar menus at the fast food joint.

There’s privilege in affording to choose vegetarianism, even more in the energy to make that choice.

Currently Reading: LaRose, Louise Erdrich

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“Vegetarians, and their Hezbollah-like splinter faction, the vegans … are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit.” – Anthony Bourdain, Kitchen Confidential

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