Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 168

Hi.

Coffee: Pike Place, Apartment Lounge Brew

I talked to a couple from Bangladesh yesterday. I did my best pronouncing their names. They did their best pronouncing mine. It felt good to make mistakes together. She’s working part-time at department stores and fast food, he’s sticking to the burger line. He told me he has a Masters from Bangladesh but none of the American jobs will acknowledge the degree.

I got a little lost last night, though in the tempered way you know you’ll come back from. We walked a trail through a dark forest and found that the trail had changed. It forked at a clearing where the sky broke open to show off her stars. There was an old shack and a basketball court, sand set out for beach volleyball. All of it looked silky in the moonlight, like the spiderwebs we’d been tangled in along the way.

I’ve been thinking about communication, what it takes to know someone. Sometimes the best way to say ‘I appreciate you’ is by putting your lips around a person’s name (no matter how complicated you find it). Other times, words are only the boards on the bridge and not its suspension – to get to the other side, you string a line between each other, stretching, until the two ends touch.

This afternoon, I stood by a tree for five minutes watching a squirrel. It was on the trunk. It had a white mushroom. At first, the squirrel got nervous and stopped eating. When I didn’t make any quick movements, the squirrel gnawed off the top of the mushroom and dropped its stalk. It climbed a few more feet. It circled the tree but came back to look at me. It’s little heart was beating so fast you could see it chattering through its teeth. Its eyes were neutron stars. For those five minutes, I felt like we understood each other. Then came a late summer breeze that blew us both away.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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

Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable.

Fred Rogers

Coffee Log, Day 345

Hi.

Coffee: Locomotive Blend, PennyCup Coffee

I’m writing this from a Chinese diner. I’m on a few hours of sleep. I’m coming off a ten hour workday. And that’s perfect, because you’ve got to be half-gone and strung out to appreciate a moment like this.

Outside is a bar with two guys smoking a permanent smell into their leather jackets. A busy patio, warmer weather, all their faces have lines even though no one is over forty. Someone lost is pacing the parking lot with his headphones on.

I need you to see this. You can’t see it, so I’ll write it down. It’s the grit and sulfur. It’s the sort of simple-awful reality that we all share. And it’s gorgeous. It’s inevitable: that there will always be a quiet corner of a struggling store to sit and wait to find yourself in. Despite all the times you get lost, the seat in the corner stays open. It’s not warm. It’s not comfortable. But it’s real.

Novel Count: 20,917

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami

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

I feel anger oozing out my family portrait,

Who knew posing in the gutter could turn out so gorgeous.

Earthgang, So Many Feelings (lyrics)

Coffee Log, Day 333

Hi.

Coffee: Locomotive Blend, PennyCup Coffee

It was a long day with a bit of travel. I’m beat.

A friend from LA was in town for a wedding. I don’t know the people getting married, but he told me he was coming, and we made plans to get together in Burlington, our home town. So I drove sixty some miles with R in the car and spent the afternoon wading in old spaces I used to visit daily. Around six, we drove to La Fiesta for dinner. A funny thing happened then:

I forgot how to get to the restaurant.

This is a place fixed in my memories. I more or less grew up eating out at La Fiesta and I think I’ve even blogged about it a couple times. From the highway, I could get there with my eyes closed, but M’ was staying on a different corner of town out by Elon.

I missed my first turn then couldn’t figure out the next one. It was dark, cold, R was in the car and he helped me navigate. Houses sprung out of the ground where they didn’t used to be and the streetlights seemed to blink like the beads on an airplane, far away. It was a strange feeling. Spend twenty years of childhood in one place consecutively and then one day you don’t even know how to get around.

I’ll be turning thirty this year. I’m neither stressed nor looking forward to it. But tonight that number felt a little more real to me, like I’m about to close the cover on a long, dusty book.

Novel Count: 16,427

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami

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

I still feel at home in Baltimore in a way I will never feel anywhere else – part of the definition of home being a place you don’t belong anymore.

Tim Kreider


Coffee Log, Day 271

Hi.

Coffee Tea: Earl Grey, Bigelow; I went to the grocery store and tried to buy coffee filters but they only had cone filters and my machine’s got a basket; so today I’m drinking tea.

I described someone as being like ‘black tea in the winter’ and then I forgot I’d ever said that. Later, we got together; now, we aren’t together and I finally remember what I meant by describing someone as being like ‘black tea in the winter.’

I got lost just once in Heraklion, Crete. It was the second night there but it felt like my plane had just landed. On approach, ground winds had picked us off the runway. We did three passes of the island, the wings going haywire, the cabin shaking around. I have a knack for bumpy flights.

Anyway, myself and two other guys were exploring. It was late. We were all a little jet-lagged. The city is a grove of brown buildings by the sea. At night, when the lights come on, it’s like you’re only seeing half of things, but the half you’re seeing is the one that matters.

We walked to the coast and back up again. It was on the way back that we got lost. The roads kept their angles from us the first time. New twists and turns. Suddenly, you’re a bird in a tree whose branches you don’t remember.

There was a cafe in the dark. Two roads split around it like feuding lovers. The front was glass. The walls were painted red and white. Two ladies kept the place, owner and daughter. They spoke English because the daughter studied in America. Lost on across the ocean, ages removed from home, we talked to the women and got directions. Then we talked some more over pastries and wine.

There’s a deep sadness in finding out where you’re going. But that moment when you’re just on the other side – surprised, relieved, full to overflowing – that’s a good feeling.

Novel Count: 10,795 words

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

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the BorderRAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

You have everything but one thing: madness.  A man needs a little madness or else – he never dares cut the rope and be free.

Nikos Kazantzakis