Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 242


Coffee: Americano, Cocoa Cinnamon; I’ve been coming to this downtown Durham coffee shop for many years; it’s a square building, a box, brick walls, small enough to fit in an unoccupied plot of parking lot, but looks bigger inside, always crowded, smelling chocolate, thrifty furniture; I bought the coffee from a woman who was a foot shorter than me and had her hands full at the register; I tipped two dollars; the espresso had a bright kick, almost too bright, like grabbing orange juice that turns out to be Sunny D, then it mellowed, and tasted like black beans.

I’ve been lacking words lately. And now it’s 11pm on a Sunday and I’m flustered trying to dig them out. I’ve opened books, checked the hamper, cut open the mattress. I’ve picked and prodded the carpet. But the words are somewhere else.

It’s not that I don’t have a lot to talk about. It was a full day, driving back and forth to Durham, walking along a lakeside, watching a kid go up and down a reticulated slide on a playground. Rain in the morning like ‘what are you waiting for?’ and long pauses with people I don’t mind sharing a silence with. But that’s just it – the words went with me out the door this morning and dropped off in all the spots I was passing. Now it’s late, dark, no turning around to retrieve them. Maybe tomorrow. Or sometime soon.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got tonight.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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Don’t gobblefunk around with words.

Roald Dahl, The BFG

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 13


Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee; back to office coffee. I don’t know what it’s been with these past two weeks but I just can’t find the motivation to get up early and brew. The days are getting longer. The sun’s out early. Maybe I miss those dark winter mornings in the dining room, crunching black beans, watching the lights come on other peoples’ apartments. Anyway, the coffee was good enough. It took away my headache. It tasted like a dentist’s office.

There’s a lady who lives here who has a mouth full of crooked teeth but doesn’t try to hide her smile. I’m not saying that as a platitude. I’m not about to tell you she’s so ‘brave’ or ‘enlightened’ for letting that stigma roll off her. For all I know, she sees herself in the mirror and wants to pull them all out. For all I know, she doesn’t even see them as crooked. I’m just trying to tell you there’s this lady who smiles and it’s pretty nice when she does.

Banking as a business is about selling secrecy. You need somewhere to keep your accounts away from the house, out from under the mattress. I’ve been in banking for about a year, but I’ve been selling secrecy for several. There’s a pact between teachers and students, teachers and parents, teachers and other teachers, and before that, of course, I was working law.

So anyway, that’s all to say that I hear a lot of people’s secrets. Of course I can’t share them, but I can say that I feel fortunate to see the undersides of people. When you walk someone into an office and close a door, a different part of them comes out. You’ve cut the world like a cake slicer, left off all the icing – what’s inside? Chocolate? Lemon? Nutmeg? And even though some of their secrets are important to conduct good business, most of them are filling – anecdotes that so-and-so can tell me because I’m someone who locks their door.

So my question is this: if my neighbor were in that office with me, would she smile? And if she did, what would she tell me about her teeth?

Novel Count: 29,630

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami; FINISHED!

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And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.

Roald Dahl

Coffee Log, Day 177


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

I watched a Twitch stream put on by the #1 ranked Elder Scrolls Legends player, recorded this afternoon. Elder Scrolls Legends is a competitive digital card game.

#1 was a young man in a nice chair in a white room. He was calm. He won some games then he lost one. He was less calm. #1’s opponent got good cards. He played them better. A few minutes and it was over.

I’m not one to watch ESL streams but tonight was special. I sat on the carpet, R (my roommate) sat in the chair. A couple plays later #1 was done. As it turns out, his opponent – for both of his two losses – was R.

It’s nice to know a celebrity. Strange to know that in 2018 you can be famous for five seconds before everyone forgets about you. Well, everyone except your friends.

There’s joy in a good game. These days, juggling work and writing, red-eyed aspirations, it’s easy to feel guilty about picking up a controller. But there’s joy in a good game, simple pride in a good competition. We’re cubs in a jungle wrestling with each other; something just as savage but less brutal than what you see on the news.

Congrats, buddy. Thanks for reminding me how important it is to sit down some days to play.

Currently Reading: LaRose, Louise Erdrich

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“Life is more fun if you play games.” – Roald Dahl