Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 275

Hi.

Coffee: Corporate Office Medium Roast; the coffee came in a carafe that sat on a hot plate, just like you’d have at an anonymous diner; the executives pointed us to the pot before our regional meeting; the pot was in a different room; so we filtered in, one by one, pouring styrofoam cups, adding cream or sugar or nothing, careful not to spill on our nice clothes, our long dresses, our suits; during the meeting, we sipped quiet enough not to interrupt the important speakers, but not so quiet that they wouldn’t notice us, showing our gratitude for this opportunity in measured slurps; I finished one cup and it was weak; I wanted another, but never found the chance to get up and pour; the coffee was like old water, something with stories, but ones you probably don’t want to hear

Last night, I went to bed early. It was nine and I was tired, I missed writing the Coffee Log. I’ve been missing the Log off and on lately and at first that bothered me. Writing this post every day was a way to center myself, and more importantly it was a commitment I’d bound myself to, and what are we but our commitments? Things change, though, life’s given me a different set of focuses and responsibilities, and I’m trying to be gentler with myself when I miss a beat here or there. I’m saying this for me, really, to understand my own motivations, but you’ve tagged along for two years now and so I figured I’d key you in.

Anyway, last night, I went to bed early, but I woke up early too. It was 3:30. I’d set my clock for 6:00. The night outside was smoky, my legs ached, my head felt sore. More than anything there were rough-edged dreams to keep me up. I was in a landfill, blue and white trash-flowers, plastic bags, the ground around me filling up. Then I was lost in one of those abandoned factories that are becoming the gray hairs of America, wandering in circles and up and down Escher steps. Those kind of dreams. And once I’d woken up from them, I didn’t have the heart to go back.

I spent the day listening to the impeachment proceedings. Some days I think our whole country is having nightmares, losing sleep. We aren’t thinking straight, and when we open our mouths its surprisingly hard to talk to one another.

Currently Reading: Another Country, James Baldwin

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“There is a time for many words, and there is also a time for sleep.”

Homer, The Odyssey

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 246

Hi.

Coffee:  Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

I was out to dinner and had a glass of tequila but I would have rather been drinking mezcal. Something with a story to it. Caught up in the lime lights of my glass, all my friends talking, and I didn’t want to hear any of it.

I’ve been trying to reset my schedule. I’ve been waking up earlier, pushing back the hours. Bedtime, though, isn’t budging. I get under the covers at 9:30 and I’m restless, or something comes up. Last night I dreamed about college. Old as I am now and back in it, taking chemistry classes, skipping all the lectures, worried I’ll fail the tests. A classic dream. Driving back from the restaurant, my friend said he’d also had it. We were in the same classroom, I guess. We’d had the same pressures. Closer in those dream-time labs than reality.

It’s a cold night. Maybe I’ll feel better once I find the covers.

Currently Reading: Another Country, James Baldwin

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And in the town too were innumerable white cantinhas, where one could drink forever on credit, with the door open and the wind blowing.

Malcolm Lowry, Under the Volcano

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 141

Hi.

Coffee: Pike Place, Apartment Lounge Blend

I sat all day in a stupor like a brown cat curled up, or a cooked shrimp, head and legs missing, a pink glaze, dreamy.

I know why I’m tired:

Last night, L was over, and he’d been having a rough week at work so we stayed out until midnight, eyes pried off the covers, pretending to be real people doing real things, but other people than the ones we usually are. By the time he’d gone and I’d gotten my head fitted to the pillow, it was closing on 1 am. I’m almost 30 – my body doesn’t do well with late nights anymore.

But there’s also the Lexapro – I’ve been taking it in the evenings because it makes me drowsy, but the drowsy hangs over in the morning. I wear it. The drug doesn’t have me in hot sweats like the bupropion but I can’t tell yet if the fatigue is worth it. Everyday becomes a Monday, sludgy, a heavy backpack, the ominous dinging of a new work-week. Maybe I’ll get used to it. Always optimistic.

Right now, the sky’s chicken-vein blue. There’s a full moon, or close to it. A good time to go to sleep.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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The sky grew darker, painted blue on blue, one stroke at a time, into deeper and deeper shades of night.

Haruki Murakami, Dance Dance Dance

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 125

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

A city is only as good as its midnight skyline. Low or high, skyscrapers or endless avenues of two-story stores, the lights at night are proof of something: that it’s worth more to the people here to risk all the dangers of darkness for a few extra seconds of knowing than to sleep soundly on the ground as they were born to do. Whether by fire, wax, or LCD silver, human is the only animal that won’t settle for the setting sun.

I was up at 3am for half an hour. My head was fuzzed with dreams. I walked to the kitchen to pour a glass of water. While I was there, I looked the window. Three streetlights had an angle on the glass. The bridge across the creek was lit, and our sister building had that glow of walkway illumination, crisp and militant. It was no surprise to see so many lights on but it took me by one anyway.

I like the idea of beating back darkness. I like the idea of getting lost in it, too. There’s a surreptitiousness to pulling your curtains on a well-lit city. The world goes on without you in it. Grocery store clerks at the 24hr; midnight highway technicians; someone’s making love in the alley behind your favorite coffee shop; old men die like great trees falling, with or without anyone to watch.

Having peeked out at the ongoing bristling of 3am, I closed the bedroom door and drew the curtains, pulled a comforter up to my nose, and tried to hide from the long city fingers for the bleak back end of night.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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Night falls – like a fat man tripping over his shoelaces.

Anthony Bourdain, The Layover – Atlanta

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 19

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

I talked to a lawyer about taxes. Not my taxes and not his either. He doesn’t do tax law. But somehow we got on the subject and were talking for over an hour. We also talked about computer architecture and teenager’s cell phones. I feel best after long conversations with people I don’t know. It was an interesting day.

A friend told me about his sleep studies. They smacked him with Apnea and a few other things. My father had Apnea also and I remember him wearing a face mask. My friend calls it a face-hugger. Alien, anyone? Anyway, there were these nights when I was little and scared where my bedroom would fill up with night terrors. I’d go into my parents’ room. They’d let me sleep beside them as parents do. Some nights, I’d sleep beside my father while he used the face mask. It sounded like an ocean. With boats. And crabs. And a few storms.

Right now, I’ve got the wok cooking veggies while the rice finishes. I added soy sauce and vinegar and oil. The oil’s bubbling. It sounds like red wine. I’m not having any wine because it’s a weekday but I can imagine. A spring day. Wildflowers. Sweet dreams.

Novel Count: 30,349

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami; FINISHED! 

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If you come at four in the afternoon, I’ll begin to be happy by three.

Antoine de Saint-Exuperry, The Little Prince


Coffee Log, Day 354

Hi.

Coffee: Sumatra Medium Dark, Trader Joe’s Brand

The clouds looked like down caught in the lint trap. A little dirty, but you know they’ll be soft. A cold, remorseful sky. The trees have already started blooming flowers.

I went to The Remedy diner in Raleigh as a belated Christmas present to my mother. She’s been vegetarian my whole life and I wanted to buy her an impossible burger. The restaurant is one of those places that’s right on the verge of trying too hard to impress you with it’s apathy. The art’s all edgy and every third waitress has a bull-ring. But the food was good and everyone was nice enough. It was a fine afternoon.

And now it’s nighttime. I’ve been getting into this routine where I’m afraid to go to sleep. Once or twice a week, I’ll wake up after a couple hours in a hot panic – heart racing, head throbbing, a pudding of sweat – and then I’ll sit in that directionless terror for a while before finally falling back to sleep. I’m not sure what’s causing it. I’ve tried monitoring my diet, sticking to an exercise routine, but I can’t find a connection. And so the midnight terror has sprinkled outward like a lawn hose and I’m strung out for a few hours before bed.

But it’s not all bad. I listen to music. I talk to friends. I might wake up wasted but I’m getting extra time in the evenings. The great trick to life is to realize that nothing bad is so bad as to damn you, or if it that you probably won’t last long enough to realize it.

I’ve got a youtube channel playing calming rain sounds. I might make some tea. See you on the other side.

Novel Count: 23,209

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami

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What would an ocean be without a monster lurking in the dark? It would be like sleep without dreams.

Werner Herzog


Coffee Log, Day 266

Hi.

Coffee: French Roast, Trader Joe’s Brand

Another rainy morning.

Most of my life I’ve been a morning person. You couldn’t get me to sleep as a kid. I’d wake up early and want the whole world served to me like toast and butter. I’ve got vivid memories of naptime – no sleeping, just a rouge room colored by the not-quite-thick-enough curtains, rolling around restless in a crib, reading pictures books over and over with photos of old ladies or elephants and little bumps or dawdles to scratch your fingers on.

I’m still an early riser, though it doesn’t come as easy.

But there was one year when everything changed. I was 20/21. She was 21/22. She was going to school in Charlotte and I didn’t have a car so I took trains to see her. I’d stay down most weekends, even longer in the summer, and I don’t know if it was the travel, the air pollution, something in the water but I stopped falling asleep or getting up early. I’d be up until 3am. We’d get out of bed past noon. Most nights, she’d be out before me so I’d stay up watching things – half my attention to the miasma of whatever-was-on-the-TV, half to her closed-off face. She had this look like she was perpetually going away from something.

That’s when I learned that you can let people change you. And sometimes, afterward, you can change yourself back.

Novel Count: 8,980 words

Currently Reading: Autumn, Ali Smith; Cherry, Nico Walker

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“I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know?” – Ernest Hemingway