Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 138

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee; most days I’m the one to make the coffee but that didn’t happen; my partner across the hall had set the machine; it came out tasting similar to all those other times I’ve had this cheap, industrial, toddler-pulling-her-pigtails exasperated blend, but it had the added spice of someone else’s work; the coffee tasted like wet sand

There’s a picture of me at 17 wearing someone else’s hat. I’m in a Barnes & Noble. The record section. Before or after the picture, I’ll pick up a record by Battles and fall in love with math rock. And speaking of love, I’ll go back to a dorm room at Governor’s School and play that record so loud I make lifelong friends with a suite-mate, a guy named A. The music only goes off when there’s this girl I like. She comes into our common room and puts on the soundtrack to Moulin Rouge. In the peat-stench of summer evening, she coats my fingers in nail-polish remover then strikes a match and tries to ignite my hand.

Life happens less vividly the more you’re in control over it. That’s why getting older drains you. You have money, a car, a job, autonomy, or at least ten fingers to scrape and claw, you know exactly where the food is and how to find it. You trade out your mysteries. No, it’s not the world that will hurt and surprise you – it’s yourself.

I’ve been building plastic models like a fire might go out. At this point, I’m up to four. I find it relaxing to file down small pieces with my naked hands, and satisfying to hear the snap when pre-ordained parts fit together. Start at nothing, work your way to a familiar image. I’m not the lifelong actor but an architect. If life can’t surprise me, then the least I can do is find the best ways to make it fit.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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She put on her lace collar. She put on her new hat and he never noticed; and he was happy without her.

Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 129

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

I spent the evening putting together a plastic model. I cut the pieces with a pair of wireclippers. I filed the nubs down with my fingernails. There’s red and yellow dust on the dining room table. There’s sore spots on my hands from holding small pieces in place.

When I was younger I thought I’d see outer-space. Really, I thought I’d live forever. I figured the one thing worth doing with your life was to keep living it so I set on scheming ways to extend myself. At first, these fled to sci-fi fantasies – I’ll live on in a computer, a mechanical body, a sentient satellite on its way to Mars. Then, when I was old enough to feel less dreams and more of my immediate mortality, I figured I’d go into science – biology – and cure cancer, or end aging, or….

But I didn’t have the heart for cold white labs and bits of liquids caught in glass. I didn’t have the mind for it either.

My favorite things are things I can put together. A plastic model, a pot of pasta, the Coffee Log. I’ve got no chance of outliving myself. Most likely, I’ll never see the stars from outside our atmosphere. Instead, I turn to things I can set the boundaries on, tiny things, things I can control.

The model turned out well. A giant robot, it’s sitting on the top of my bookshelf, right above the Histories of Herodotus, which seems to fit.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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

Everything about me may have been crammed in there, but it was only plastic. Indecipherable except to some machine.

Haruki Murakami, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World