Coffee:Black Drip, Waffle House; I had three cups and half of a fourth; I asked the waitress when she was going to get some rest; she said she’d gotten up at four when her twelve year old wanted to talk; she said she was working until 2pm but would be too wired to sleep when she got home; instead, she asked me to take a nap for her, and that that would be enough; I haven’t taken that nap yet; the coffee was woody like a whiskey that’s spent a long time on a dark, warm, dusty shelf.
I got lunch with an old friend at an old restaurant. She said it felt weird to meet again. I agreed. She ordered chicken soup with avocado slices and I got a veggie taco concoction with spinach and cheese. At first, I felt like I was floating on a body of deep water. I had my arms out, legs spread, focusing on every inch of my body to try and stay buoyant. Then an hour passed. And another. And I felt my limbs slip and my head pass under deep water, remembering why we were friends.
It’s nice to talk with a person that’s easy to talk with.
Currently Reading:NOTHING! will pick a new book soon
Coffee: Pike Place, Apartment office coffee; on the way to the lounge to get my morning coffee, I passed a black and white cat; she was sitting in the grass; I sat down and knocked my thermos on the ground to lure her but she didn’t bite; eventually, I walked off and on my way back she was gone; like that cat, the coffee tasted best when I first sipped it, like it was something powerful and old, only to discover halfway down that I was drinking sawdust
Feeling a total lack of ambition around six o’clock, I fixed a bowl of instant ramen for dinner. The kind they used to call ‘oriental’ but now they say is ‘soy-flavored,’ which is both more accurate and less problematic. I put two packs of noodles in a white bowl but only stirred in one serving of veggie bouillon.I like the way the colors change when you add the powder. I like the way deep browns swirl through the water until it’s obscured.
Today was one of those days when nothing’s working. I broke my headset for the computer and had to buy another. I tore apart a chip bag I was only trying to open. These sorts of days happen to everyone, a confluence, but most often in the summer. When it’s summer, the heat has you at your boiling point, so it’s no wonder things start to spill over.
Downstairs, around ten this morning, two kids were catching frogs. They caught a couple dozen, all tiny, just born, or rather just morphed from tadpoles. They kept the frogs in a giant terrarium and watched them hop at the sides. A few frogs died. They buried them. E told them to let them go so many times that they finally listened. I thought it was kind of sad to see the frogs gone, but all kids have to learn about their power. The fact that their fingers can do things, not subtle, abrasive. Who knows if they took the lesson?
Currently Reading: NOTHING! will pick a new book soon
Coffee: Americano, Caribou Coffee; I thought about going inside the shop but when I drove by the parking lot was filled; so I got my coffee from the drive-through; even treated myself to a slice of lemon cake; the woman at the window had deep green lacquer on her fingernails; it reminded me of mountainsides in the early morning; I told her I liked the color, she said ‘thanks’; later, drinking the coffee, I thought I could taste a bit of wood-bark, pine-sap, morning dew
A hot day. Now that we’ve passed mid-may, summer’s taken it’s gloves off, spit out the tobacco, and is squatting wide-legged in the fields ready to take on all comers. I went out around five to pick up a few things from the pharmacy and got socked in the face. One hit of that humidity and I was walking like I had the weight of the world on me. All the thermostats were reading 90. Like I said, a hot day.
Nevertheless, I spent a lot of the day outside.
I’ve been re-reading After Dark by Murakami. I finished my re-read today. The last time I let my eyes on the book, I was 17 and wading through another hot summer. I was away at an academic camp and within the first week had torn my ACL (a particularly vigorous game of ping-pong was what did me in). So there I was, young and dumb and largely alone, limping around a college campus on crutches, trying to keep up with the world as it whipped by. Because of that, coming back to After Dark has been like finding all those boxes in your parents’ basement full of family photos – you squint at the pictures and try to make them look familiar without getting too embarrassed. Then, in the end, you stare so long so you forget they’re even photos of you.
I was reading on the porch with a cup of peppermint tea beside me. The hot day matched the tea so that you couldn’t tell which was making all that steam. I sweated out my journey into old, semi-blank memory albums, and when the tea was gone and the book was almost over, I had a beer. Finally, soaked to the bone, I finished what I’d come there to do. I closed the book. I put down the bottle. About to go inside, I heard a clapping sound off the balcony. I looked over and saw a family of geese. They were huddled together, pecking through the clover, hunting for bugs. Some of them were so young their adult feathers hadn’t come in. I didn’t know what to make of them – these beautiful, surprising, cuddly creatures walking by – and I still don’t. But I think they’ll be one of those memories I’ll open up fifteen years from now and hardly recognize, no matter how much I might want to.
Currently Reading: NOTHING! Couldn’t get back into Bourdain, no matter how much I tried; will pick a new book soon
I drove across town today for a meeting. You could see the places where we’d had hail. Yesterday, a big storm blew through intermittently, pummeling roofs and cars. When it left, it had sucked all the summer heat up and left brisk wind.
Later, I cooked black beans and rice for dinner. I spent an hour chopping vegetables. My hands still smell like lime. I watched the blue sky from the kitchen window, shivered when the wind would blow. That big empty space storms leave in the summer.
Now, a little past my bedtime, I try to rest.
Currently Reading:Kitchen Confidential,Anthony Bourdain
She awaits the rain like a writer embraces metaphors,
A drizzle isn’t for the child who dances in the storm.
Of rain that washes away the petrichor it brings,
A downpour of a hail of bullets, and she calls it spring.
This week has felt weightless. On Sunday, I opened a door inside myself. I don’t know what the key was – writer’s block, two back-to-back showers, a little liquor. When the door opened, air came out. Thick, heavy air that had been building up in me for a long time. It rolled across the floor like spilled oil. It flooded my home, my shoes, my bedroom. Since then I’ve been standing on the film, two inches up, weightless.
R and I walked to where the food trucks were supposed to be but the trucks weren’t there. Dejected, we drove to Chipotle. The restaurant was empty when we walked in but it was still noisy. The line leader was yelling at two new associates. He kept calling them kids. One looked scared and embarrassed. The other looked smug.
Just before dinner, I sat outside for half an hour tossing words at my laptop. Only a couple stuck, but that didn’t bother me so much today. I had one of those big plush chairs that’s treated to survive the rain. Beside me, around the fire pit, a man and woman were watching their kid swing on the swingset while talking plans for the future. She kept saying “If you say so,” he kept saying “This is what you need to do.” On the other side of me, two kids were playing sevens. For those that don’t know (and I didn’t know until tonight), sevens involves slapping patterns on a table together. It was loud and distracting, frustratingly lovely.
Walking around tonight, I noticed a dead flower on the sidewalk. A week ago I’d taken a picture of the flower and posted it on here. Back then it was vibrant, now not so much. My instinct was to find that kind of sad, but then I looked closer and there were so many more details to the dead flower: pulled-out fibers, sour yellows, a lively brown slime. Ugly on the surface but beautiful in function: a tiny generator of new life. I’m sure there’s a metaphor in there somewhere but I’m too tired to find it. I’ll leave that up to you.
Currently Reading: Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain
Countdown to my reading as featured author at the Third Wednesday Open Mic: WHERE:Fig Raleigh, Raleigh NC WHEN: 04/17/19; 6:30p.m. (open mic sign-ups start at 6:00p.m.) DAYS REMAINING: 4 Come out and support the Coffee Log!
The AC froze in our apartment. You’d think that’s a good thing – icy cool – but it’s not as good as it sounds. The coils froze over and the ice warped the filter. We called maintenance. A tech came over. He did what he could. A nice thing to have someone help you on a Saturday.
Anyway, the problem’s not fixed so now it’s just set to fan. Thankfully we’re still early enough in the year to have cool nights. I thought about cracking the windows but there’s too much pollen. I’m noticing the lack of sound in the apartment now that the AC’s not blowing. Sometimes it’s nice to miss something.
I stayed in Oita for one week when I was working in Japan. We had some camps at a rec center there. Oita’s in the mountains and surrounded by verdant fields. Picturesque, except for the hot sun and endless bugs.
Like most of the places we stayed, the rec center had no AC. We slept on the floor with five of us to a room. All night long, our sheets crawled with tiny critters. Working those summer camps, everyone was so dead tired that they usually fell asleep right away after the long days. But in Oita we’d stay up telling stories by flashlight. It was something to do, something to take your mind off the heat. We’d drop off gradually, talking quieter and quieter, until everyone was asleep.
Summer will be here soon. NC’s no joke when it gets going. Here’s crossing fingers our AC gets fixed soon.
Novel Count: 37,459
Currently Reading: The Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes
Late August heatwave. My dash reads 98. At least I parked in shade.
A busy day – at work, after work. Thursday smells like the weekend you can’t bite into, green bananas.
I want to take a trip for Labor Day. I had two trips planned but both fell through. For a few years, each get-out-of-town has been preceded by pop-up drama, heartfelt taking stock, calendar confusion. I might go somewhere alone. I might climb a mountain to remind myself I can.
Currently Reading: Nothing! Still poking through some books, will settle soon.