Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 230

Hi.

Coffee: Lady Grey Tea

I like people more when I see them smoking. Going back home from groceries, I saw a van, a ‘former State Senator’ bumper sticker, and a lady’s arm hanging out the window burning a white cigarette. I like the vice in it, the desperation. Turn lungs to tar, and for what? It makes you seem a little more human.

I’ve had a lazy 3-day weekend. Monday’s off for Columbus Day, so I went to the Nasher to see an exhibit on indigenous American art. Something that stuck with me was the way so many of the pieces seemed to be in communication with the history you hear about, a long-standing culture, colonial oppression. I came away wondering if that’s just what the artists show to a paying white audience and, if so, what is it that they show to each other when the lights go down and the only sound to hear is a sister’s breath?

I bought two pillows off Amazon then I thought about wage labor. Amazon’s not the worst offender but it’s got it’s hands in everyone else’s pies. I spent awhile looking for these pillows from different vendors but the only options were Wal-Mart or faceless eBay vendors. And I tried to find information on who made them, the parts and labor, what foreign factories they were abusing, but I couldn’t dig it up. There’s a lack of transparency that gets in the way of ethical action, and there’s a lack of options also. But in the end I was the one who funneled money to a mega-corporation responsible for devouring the American economy, for widespread store closure, for pushing radical, robotic efficiency on people trying to make a buck to survive. It was my dollars that bought the pillows, just like it’s my head that’ll sleep comfortable at night.

Columbus sailed the ocean blue, and landed on land where other people were living, and did his best to consume them in his colonial machine. He wasn’t the only evil white man crossing an ocean, but he’s one we still celebrate. And he’s somebody’s ancestor, maybe yours or mine. We’ve come a long way, but we still put people in chains, only they bite around your spirit rather than your skin.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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

It’s like, how did Columbus discover America when the Indians were already here? What kind of shit is that, but white people’s shit?

Miles Davis, Miles: The Autobiography

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 223

Hi.

Coffee:  Americano, Caribou Coffee; like being back in university, it’s become a tradition for me to get a Caribou Americano on Sundays;; caffeinated church; I’ve been trading coffee traditions every couple months; the espresso was warming today, which went well with the second chilly morning of Fall

Sitting outside for five minutes while the dog ran around the park, L told me about his job. He works at a printing company and injured his hand on one of the machines. He’s been delegated to office duty, which he enjoys, but there’s politics involved that have him doing busy work because he hasn’t ‘earned’ the cushy spot off the lines. When he heals, there’s a chance he’ll be right back down there, stacking paper, pushing hot sheets through big machines. One thing he says he’s missing is the community – “Those guys all want to get to know you,” he says about the line workers. They were teaching him Spanish and had him over for barbecue on one of their birthdays.

I’ve been listening to the 1619 Project podcasts. I’m 3 deep in the show. In the second episode, they go over how American Capitalism has long roots in slavery, how its management practices come from foremen on the cotton fields. On the 3rd episode, it talks about how pop culture began in minstrel shows.

Two weeks from now I’m getting a promotion. It’s a new position and next year I’ll be learning investments. I feel good about the promotion because it means I’ll have more chances to hear peoples’ stories, and I feel good about the promotion because it means more money for not too much more work. There was a bit in that 2nd episode of the podcast where they talked about banking. Back in the 19th century, banks were trading bonds but the bonds weren’t backed by the treasury, or equity, but on the most valuable property at the time, human slaves. Many banks grew big and wealthy with this practice. Families were separated, white men were rich, and half the world had forgotten how to care.

Some people say that Autumn is a ghostly season. Those cold misty mornings, spirits slipping out of graves. I like this idea, and I’ve always like the celebration, the shared horror, popcorn face-masks and candy-corn, festive Halloween. But deep down below the sugar is a sicker stuff, the dead rot of history climbing through the tubers, coming out not in Autumn but under the hottest white July, to sweat and pool wherever you’re stepping, always under you, always out of site, but present, so present it sticks, and even when you take the afternoon shower to wash the grime down the drain, it never goes away.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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

You would get nowhere telling him that weeds too have tubers, or that the first sign of loose teeth is something rotten, something degenerate, deep within the gums.

Zadie Smith, White Teeth