Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 221

Hi.

Coffee:  Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

There were two kids in my office who couldn’t help climbing over each other. Their dad tried to stop them but they kept going. They laughed at fart jokes and hid small plastic fishes below the desk. Every so often, one would run out the door and into the halls, blowing fog on my glass office walls, and waiting for their sibling to make faces. Dad was calm through all of it and out of his element. Brilliant laughs, private education, no consequences, I wondered who these kids will be.

It was the last day before my coworker’s retirement. She’s been working part time for 35 years. She told us not to make much of it, that she didn’t want to cry, but we couldn’t help bringing balloons and flowers and different potluck dishes. Our office manager bought an ice-cream cake. It tasted like the kind you find at every five-year-old’s birthday party, which at first seemed kind of silly for a retirement, but then seemed kind of perfect.

It’s hard to see where you’re headed. In retrospect, though, the answers approach you as obvious. They’re the nameless but familiar faces in the supermarket, a ‘Ted’ or ‘Marge’ or ‘what’s-her-name,’ coming up and tapping you on the shoulder, saying how nice it is to see you, unsettling like a flat glass of soda, knowing something more about you than you know of yourself. 35 years from now, will that brother and sister who were falling all over each other look back to my office and see the hidden fishes? And if they do, will they realize all the spots inside themselves that were born in nooks and crannies of a banker’s desk, or running wild in the halls while their half-absent father called?

Nothing wrong with hoping we’ll all make it to a happy retirement.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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He knew now that it was his own will to happiness which must make the next move. But if he was to do so, he realized that he must come to terms with time, that to have time was at once the most magnificent and the most dangerous of experiments.

Albert Camus, A Happy Death

Coffee Log, Day 223

Hi.

Coffee: Cafe Pajaro Extra Dark, Trader Joe’s Brand; I bought the first tin of this blend when I moved to Cary a year and two months ago. Our empty apartment – I brewed you quick and hot in the morning; I had the place to myself; nothing to keep me away from simplicity.

If September wears the vintage polka-dot dress to the party, October’s got the fitted romper. She’s less rambunctious but somehow less reserved. Of all the drinks she picks a Malbec and she sits in the corner where the lit geeks congregate (and conjugate, and…) but doesn’t talk to them. She’s there for the atmosphere – or at least that’s what you’re guessing. You’ve been watching her since 8:30, everyone has, and you’re pretty sure she hasn’t left the seat.

Finally, at last call, you get the courage to start a conversation, but there’s just a hat, gloves, chapstick where she’d been sitting. She left it. She didn’t really need these things. The host is piss-drunk and his partner’s taking care of him. You let yourself out. Outside, on the curb, you look up at the building’s still-lit windows and think about October’s wire-frames. You wish you could have gone home with her, but that leaves you feeling guilty of something deep and dark. It’s a long walk to the car. For the first time since graduation, you smoke a cigarette.

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

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“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” – L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

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Coffee Log, Day 109

Hi.

Coffee: Organic Sumatra Blend, Trader Joe’s Brand; coming back to this one, can’t remember when I had it last. 2018 has been a forgetful year.

There’s a party happening by the playground. Graduation I’m guessing, but it’s hard to tell. They set white tablecloths and brought extra chairs. A guy grilled hot dogs over charcoal and the smoke was so high you might mistake it for a pine tree. They started around 3:00 but they’re still going. I can hear them laughing. It’s a good sound.

There’s something about the summer that makes me emotional. Angry, sad, frustrated, I’m a children’s book with the better pages ripped out. Maybe it’s the heat, or maybe the humidity, or that it’s easier to feel overwhelmed when the world sticks to you.

I woke up late today. I needed the sleep. I’ve been productive but it’s hard to feel it. I’m stuck on the back deck of cruise ships, or standing under street-lit sasafras.

Their party keeps getting bigger. Thump, thump, thump go the bass notes in their voices.

urrently Reading:
Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Way of Kings, Brandon Sanderson

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“I believe when life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade…and try to find someone whose life has given them vodka, and have a party.” – Ron White

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