Coffee Log, Day 321


Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee; I brewed a big pot, drank half; tasted like the sand you lay in a kid’s playground.

When I was a kid, my favorite color was purple. I had this purple turtleneck that I wore all the time in elementary. Then I got to middle school and some kids made fun of me for it. They told me it was a girly color. Not much of an insult in the grand scheme of things – ‘girly’ is a badge of pride for a lot of people, and should be – but it got to eleven-year-old-me. I stopped wearing purple. From then on, gray was my favorite color.

It’s impossible not to care what other people think. Or, rather, you can stop caring, but you lose a bit of yourself in the process. Shut off. Like pulling the blinds down.

I made this joke at work because I drink black coffee – I said ‘I like it like my soul: dark and empty.’ I wonder what I would have said if purple was still my favorite color?

It was pretty today. A punch-bowl sunrise.

Novel Count: 12,296

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami

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He told her the flowers in her painting contained exactly the purple substance of the flowers on the desk in front of her […] Let us open the window and see if your painting can entice the butterflies.

Sarah Hall, How to Paint a Dead Man

Coffee Log, Day 172


Coffee: Americano, Caribou Coffee; it’s become a tradition to buy Caribou when I run out of beans at home. There’s not much to it – five minutes in the drive-through – but I’ve done it a half-dozen times, guess it’s stuck. The Caribou is two blocks farther than I usually drive. There’s no easy way into the parking lot. I figure it’s a bum gig because I haven’t had the same barista twice. Today, it was a lean guy. Last time, it was a lean girl. Every barista I’ve known has ambitious eyes. Sometimes I miss making coffee for customers.

This time last year, I’d just come to Cary and settled into a job I don’t have anymore. I worked a bookstore, a head cashier, internally prestigious position but I got embarrassed giving myself away with that description. I’m glad I lost that job.

Now I’m a banker. A teller, really, though the title’s dressed up, one of those dogs you see in sweaters. America likes money, so I feel less shame saying I’m a banker than a bookseller, but retail’s retail, and my white collars still come no-suit-required.

Sometimes, if I wake up cocky, I’ll introduce myself as a ‘writer,’ pointing to my few publications and this blog as proof. Then there’s always the questions: “What books you got out?” “What genre do you write?” I’ve got answers, but like lice in your daughter’s kindergarten bowl-cut, the questions keep coming. Friendship and love are well-meant interrogations; justify yourself.

But I’ve got it good. I’ve got a job that sounds mostly respectable, a passion that (though far-fetched) is somewhat relatable; I’m no fast-food chef going home to gorgeous cases of pinned insects, hotel cleaners finding time for life in the margins. No wonder Caribou keeps rotating baristas – bad hours, bad pay, social scorn.

My coffee was good. Simple, but good. The lean guy said ‘bye’ brightly and got ready for the next customer. I want to live in such a way that no-one feels the need to justify themselves to me. To keep breathing – whatever letters are beside your name – is beautiful, full stop.

Well, except for the CEO’s. I wouldn’t mind making millionaires prove they’ve earned the puppet strings.

Currently Reading: LaRose, Louise Erdrich

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β€œThe people that I liked and had not met went to the big cafes because they were lost in them and no one noticed them and they could be alone in them and be together.” – Ernest Hemingway