Coffee Log, Day 181


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

2010 changed me. I spent my summer on Greek oceans, the autumn falling in love. I had my first flirtations with teaching when I worked with America Reads and Counts; I wrote two stories and dreamed up others I wouldn’t write for another eight years. Duke had been rocky the first two years, but by Junior I had hit my stride. December had me sharing beds with the first woman I really loved. I guess you could say I was living a rosy-colored campus life.

Tonight, I went to a showing of ‘The Night is Short, Walk on Girl.’ It’s a Masaaki Yuasa film, animated, vibrant, a spiritual follow up to a short anime series from 2010 called ‘The Tatami Galaxy.’ The characters keep their faces from eight years ago but their lives and personalities have changed. The male lead is brasher; the heroine steals the show. The movie – like much of Yuasa’s work – is like tripping down a flight of stairs with two tall drinks in your hand, only to have a revolving group of strangers lift you up. It was good, not great, but it burrowed into me. I’d fallen hard for – and seen echoes of myself in – ‘The Tatami Galaxy’ as it aired in 2010.

I get stuck some mornings noticing the way I shave my beard. It’s semi-precise, consistent, but nothing like the pictures I see from college. I don’t remember when I changed length and blades, don’t remember why. It can be hard to stick the continuity between then and now. A small change, but keep putting coins in the piggy bank and eventually you have to empty it to make room for something new.

My favorite scene in ‘The Night is Short, Walk on Girl’ has four men stuffing down super spicy ramen in a big red tent. They’re competing to win rare books. Some want money, some want love, one is an old author trying to reclaim his first manuscript. Just as the competition finishes, the God of Used Book Markets pulls a string and the tent comes undone, the red tarp vanishing, all the old books flapping away like squawking birds. “I forbid the hoarding of rare books!” says the God, paraphrasing. The four men chase after their dreams, going their separate ways after having stumbled together. A few find their books. Others don’t.

Currently Reading: LaRose, Louise Erdrich

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“My still-as-of-yet rose-colored self was cut to the quick by that which is called reality.” – The Tatami Galaxy


Coffee Log, Day 141


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

I shaved my head the first time for love. Well, for me, really, but me-by-way-of-a-woman. College, Junior year – she was coming over for the weekend; I saw a shaggy head in the mirror; I shaved it all off. S screamed “Ah!” when she saw me. We screwed in the closet.

For a long time, I shaved even-cut – one blade set, fuzz the whole garden off, wait to harvest again a month later. But I like the sides of my head better than the top.

In 2013, I watched a lot of Vikings. Ragnar Lothbrook, played by Travis Fimmel, was hot. In 2014, on the way back from Japan, I shaved just the sides, left the top longer, a viking cut. That was for love too – change-for-me-by-way-of-a-woman. I’d known L since high school. We’d had a thing before I left the country. Coming back, I thought we could still have it. I showed up at her cafe, stroking my hair…

She saw the cut but didn’t comment. L and I haven’t talked in years.

Still, I appreciate people that help me want to change. We all have a capacity to use and be used for the better.

Currently Reading: LaRose, Louise Erdrich

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the BorderRAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

“One of the causes, by the way, of the apparent lack, at the present time, of great men lies in the poverty of the contemporary male coiffure. Rich in whiskers, beards, and leonine manes, the great Victorians never failed to look the part, nowadays it is impossible to know a great man when you see one.” – Aldous Huxley