Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 183

Hi.

Coffee: Pike Place, Apartment Lounge Brew

What’s the value of work?

I went to the store today to buy cheese. Yesterday, at the grocery, I bought a bag of vegan mozzarella and half-gagged. I’m working my way to vegan but I’m not there yet.

Today, the cashier was a woman with red hair and black glasses. She was short. She had a pin on her shirt that said ‘Happily Serving Since 2019.’ Her hands had a lot of freckles on them.

Part of what was in our cart was a pom-pom mushroom. The cashier tried to ring it but it wasn’t in the system. So she set to flipping through the sku book, searching the computer, all to no luck. Eventually, she took the price per pound and multiplied it out by weight. She did the calculation on a piece of receipt paper.

Before we left, I asked the cashier how her shift had been. She smiled and said she’d been working since morning. Just before we came up she was supposed to take her half-hour break but the store got busy so she was sticking around to help. I thought that was really something.

Outside, under a cool gray sky, I tried to find pride in the way I spend my days.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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And suddenly, not a soul’s at the store as for other & similar & just as blank reasons, they’ve gone to the silence, the suppers of their own mystery.

Jack Kerouac, Book of Sketches

Coffee Log, Day 171

Hi.

Coffee: Fair Trade Five County Espresso Blend, Trader Joe’s Brand

M tells me he got a job at the camera shop operating equipment. He’s been working ten years through film school, MFA’s, gigs in LA. The job won’t pay great, he’ll have to take a second. As a screenwriter and director, it’s far from what he wants to do. But it’s a step in the door. M played it down when he was talking about it but I could hear the gymnastics in his voice. I was ecstatic, didn’t try to hide it. I poured brandy and took a toast. Nothing better than working toward something.

Summer rages on. We sit in the shade and listen to cicadas. I learned how to say ‘cicada’ in Japanese – semi – from a teacher in Koga. One year my junior, many years wiser, though I don’t know if she’d agree. She kept having to remind me of the word because I kept forgetting. We stood on the beach. Green algae. Clean water. She pointed to the path you’d take to get to her elementary school. There were trees up the coast where the sand died. “Semi,” I said. “You remember,” she said. You could hear the bugs.

I read somewhere that cicadas crawl from the ground once every few years, sing a little, make love, lay eggs, die. I admire that singularity of purpose. Some days, I’d like to crawl out of the breadcrumb soil, sing a little, make love, set my roots, and die. Other days, though, I just get drunk.

Congrats, M. Thank you, A. You both inspire me.

Currently Reading: LaRose, Louise Erdrich

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“Dog-day cicadas are very dark with greenish markings and spend four to seven years underground before emerging in July and August.” – Quote on the National Geographic Kids entry about Cicadas

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