Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 103

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

A dog got out downstairs and ran havoc on the other dogs at the park. It did what it was born to do – run, struggle, pick apart stiff muscle with whale-white teeth. In the end, no other pup was hurt enough for anything serious, like talk of vet violence, putting it down. But the dog was caught and brought back home. It sits on beige carpet. I know the color because all the apartments have beige carpet. At best, it can fit its front paws on the window, it’s eyes through the glass, it’s breath wet, fogging. Summer day.

I listened to a podcast about masculinity. It said ‘you don’t have to be isolated to be strong,’ and that ‘you don’t have to be tough to be a man.’ It talked about emotion and how everybody has it, a full range, every color. One of the guys says: “men in my father’s generation proved they were men by selling themselves to hard labor, something you can express only with a strong body,” and then “now those jobs are gone.”

Later today, I caught a bit of a radio show about Latina soccer players in the early 1900’s. They were considered crude and rebellious for showing strength with their bodies. Women were supposed to play games and exercise in ways that made them docile, motherly, easy to protect. Accentuate the feminine body – no muscle, all curves. Soccer was too rough for that.

Sitting at a table for a garden party together, we’re all mixed up: socialized men needing places to put their emotions out of view, tuck them under the arms of their women; socialized women, given so few outlets for their strength or independence, are coerced to oblige. Tangled. No-one notices the fisherman’s knot, catching us all, reeling in.

Right now, the dog’s probably sleeping off his busy day. He’s dreaming of damp grass and matted fur. Meanwhile, we gather ourselves around him, staring, like he’s the only animal we’ve ever seen.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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The water is a dark flower and a fisherman is a bee in the heart of her.

Annie Proulx, The Shipping News

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 35

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

I like to work out in my bedroom with the windows open. It’s a nice way to feel alive. I have a routine – nothing fancy – that works in some aerobics with strength building. All-in-all, on a good day, I spend about half an hour working out.

Today, as I started jogging in place – heart pounding, lips flapping like a disoriented duck – an eleven-year-old girl walks by the window. My room faces the walkway and has a perfect view of our front door. The girl walks right up to the door and knocks. She’s our downstairs neighbor and drops by sometimes for this or that. For a second, I’m still jogging. Then she turns, looks right at me, and waves. I wave back. After that, I close the curtains.

There’s no such thing as privacy. You could move to the mountains on a private road and never leave your home, but either the government or google would still find you. I was reading an article about a guy who tried to eliminate his identity after someone threatened his family. He set up a series of trusts and llc’s, dummy addresses, dummy cars, fake names even, and all he managed to do was wipe over one identity for another. Maybe no-one could peek in on the original him, but everyone knew the new ‘you.’ Like I said, try as you want, there’s no such thing as privacy.

But maybe there used to be.

A lot of human history is an example of cutting up the world into carefully closed boxes. Castle walls, winter clothes. We try to give things shape. We let some things in and others out. There are only certain people who should look in your bedroom closet, fewer still who get to see what’s under your blankets. If you speak a certain language or swear to a certain flag, whole swathes of a culture are off limits to you. You can change the shapes you fit in, but you never fit into them all.

The internet changed all that. Technology has a way of breaking down your door. It all came on so quick and fast that we’re still living like we’ve got these carefully concocted privacies, yet in reality we’re all exposed. Our homes, our lives, our bank accounts. I think there’s something profound and terrifying about that. Also a little exciting.

So anyway, I should have known better than to leave my window open while I worked out. I should have known someone would catch me and I’d be embarrassed. That said, I’m sure I’ll open the windows again tomorrow. Privacy’s a done deal anyway.

Novel Count: 34,368

Currently Reading: The Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes

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

Do not be afraid of spending quality time by yourself. Find meaning or don’t find meaning but ‘steal’ some time and give it freely and exclusively to your own self. Opt for privacy and solitude. That doesn’t make you antisocial or cause you to reject the rest of the world. But you need to breathe. And you need to be.

Albert Camus