Coffee Log, Day 248

Hi.

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

I was in line for an hour behind a short, pretty, blue-haired girl and a family of three. The family was a dad and two girls. The girls were reading books and blowing bubbles. The sun was out. Everyone looked comfortable. We were all waiting to vote.

For sixty minutes, it’s like I knew America again: the friend who moved, your favorite lunch in Elementary, the windows in the old office where you could watch crowds going down to the Subway, everything plain and normal but lovely, unabashed composure, five cents until the dollar that buys bread, hope, grit, confidence, respect. Whoever saw me saw a dumb big grin and eyes that were going everywhere. The kids peeked between their father’s arms. Blue-hair was talking priceless on her cell trying to pawn off an old car.

I’m in love with America, that thirsty love that sees water in a desert. It isn’t healthy, isn’t often returned, but unlike with the complexities of another person – a man or woman you’re pushing too hard to fit your dreams to – America belongs to me as much as I belong to it. It’s a self-love, a vanity, desiring the world to look like me on my best days instead of lost or hungover, wanting to pick up and dust his shoulders when he’s gotten down, wanting to reckon him to all the mistakes he’s made. Like nights on a bender, America gets away from me. But every now and then I catch up.

Early voting’s drawn record crowds in NC. People speak when you push them hard enough.

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

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the BorderRAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Coffee Log, Day 133

Hi.

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

How can I celebrate America in 2018?

It was ’07; July; I was away for the summer at Governor’s School, a preppy, open-minded camp for academic kids in NC. I had a roommate I rarely saw, a kid who liked swimming and tennis and picking his nose. One night, before going to bed, he talked about the French Revolution. He’d been learning about it in some seminars. He said the French had it so much better than the Americans, chopping heads, etc etc. I told him he was wrong. The kid kept me up for two hours while we argued. He was so convinced that neither of us were allowed to sleep.

Anyway, what I told him was: America’s ideals are perfect. We stand for an optimistic freedom. We give everyone equal power, equal voices, and believe so much in the good in people that we have confidence in a collective outcome.

In 2018, that collective looks shaky. We claw at each other. The one value of our current civil strife is that it’s showing us just how far from the American ideal we’re sitting. Much of the country’s never known equality; those who did knew it the way ancient Athens did – that ‘freedom’ means rich and ‘equal’ means man.

My family likes to brag that one of our ancestors rode the boat with Washington when he crossed the Delaware. I’m skeptical of the story’s veracity, but not of it’s message: revolution’s in my blood. On this Fourth of July, I’ll keep my eyes open and chest poked out. I’ll believe in the America a bunch of immigrant landowners accidentally dreamed up two hundred fifty years ago, not the country she’s turned out to be.

Donate to RAICES, vote in November, talk to your neighbor, film the cops.

Currently Reading: LaRose, Louise Erdrich

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the BorderRAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

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