Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 227


Coffee:  Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

After getting home from a long workday, and doing some simple workouts, and sitting in my desk-chair for forty minutes as the sun crept down, I left the house to pick up Taco Bell. Here’s my order: spicy potato taco, spicy tostada, and bean burrito. Mm.

Anyway, that got me thinking: Taco Bell is the best representation of America. Cheap, easy, no pretensions. Pumping out junk food by the liter, a web of corporate partnerships, but it still manages to surprise you – vegan options, culinary creativity, a thousand different ways to serve a tortilla. NASA’s best scientists couldn’t beat the chemical tweakers tinkering taste on the crunchwrap supreme.

Some of you might stop me here to talk about cultural appropriation. How there’s a cheapened sort of Tex-Mex over everything, how the commercials used to lean into latinx stereotypes. You wouldn’t be wrong, and I think there’s something hopelessly American in this too. We see things in the boldest colors, no room for nuance, no time to sit down and think. The big beast of a country eats up all the cultures that come to it and spits out something a little simpler. And I’m conflicted because there’s so many problems, such a long history of trauma in ignoring the value of identities outside the mainstream, but at the same time, there’s breezy kind of beauty in stuffing beans and cheese and lettuce in a hard shell and calling it a taco. As much as America is a constant tearing down of the marginalized and different, it’s also a mess of cultures coming together to create something new.

I finished eating around 7. The food sat with me awhile.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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Wait… we’re at the Pizza Hut (What?)
We’re at the Taco Bell (What?)
We’re at the combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell

Das Racist, Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell

Coffee Log, Day 358


Coffee: Sumatra Medium Dark, Trader Joe’s Brand

I know a lady that had to get her cat shaved because he was too large to clean the better half of his fur. She sent me pictures. The cat looked like a rockstar, though not too happy. An interesting way to spend a Valentine’s Day.

I saw someone post on Insta that Valentines is their favorite holiday. She’s got a penchant for vintage dresses and posts pics that fit your mental image of a starving artist that still manages to live in New York. I only knew her for a summer, never knew her favorite holiday, but it fits.

There’s this guy who got divorced under uncertain circumstances. He used to travel all around the country in an old van. Now he’s figuring out custody for his kids.

R and I went to taco bell to try their Mexican Pizzas. Neither of us had had them before. We got home, opened up the boxes, and slopped our way through the cheap food as the couch devoured us. The pizza was sweet and sticky. It was like the kind of kitchen monsters you make as a child.

Anyway, that’s all to say I love you. Even if you don’t love me (and, well, even if you do). Thanks for reading. Thanks for taking your time. Happy Valentines day. I didn’t know what to get you, so here’s a blurry photo of a cat.

Novel Count: 23,683

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami

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“Me & U”

Every fourth Candy Heart in the box

Coffee Log, Day 331


Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee; back in the office after a week of off-site training; just as brown as stale wheat bread; just as oily as a nervous kid in gym class.

The dishes are piling up on my table again. I keep telling myself I’ll do something about them, but the excuses are easier than effort. I’ll get rid of them eventually. I always do.

I was talking to a guy who moved here from halfway across the country. I found myself suggesting places to go. I told him to check out Durham, to find something to eat in Raleigh, and to sleep tight in Cary. It was good advice, I thought. But it got me thinking about where I fit in to the central NC picture.

When I went to Duke, we were all afraid of Durham. There was this rumor that you’d lose a lot more than your wallet if you stepped too far off campus. And before that, when I was growing up, everywhere between Winston and Wilson seemed like a place to get away from. Turns out, it takes a lot of effort to get away from anything. And usually, those times you manage it, you end up somewhere pretty much the same as you left.

I got dinner with R at the Taco Bell. We picked it up, took it home. The guy at the drive-thru was so busy he walked away before taking R’s card. You could feel the sweet winter air hacking through our window. I was in a jacket. I almost took it off to feel the wind a little better.

As of writing this, all the dishes are still there.

Novel Count: 15,761

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami

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Each neighborhood of the city appeared to be made of a different substance, each seemed to have a different air pressure, a different psychic weight: the bright lights and shuttered shops, the housing projects and luxury hotels, the fire escapes and city parks.

Teju Cole, Open City

Coffee Log, Day 250


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

Long day. Worked eight hours. Came home, didn’t work out, but should have. I ate Taco Bell. The cheese was orange and got stuck to the wrappers and now I smell like a flea market. Messy. It was what I wanted.

I’m trying to make moves – career, personal, artistic, etc. I’m always making moves. In college, I thought I’d major in biochem. When that got old, I majored in philosophy. When that got old, I fell in love and took school less seriously. When that got old, I quit my job and moved and failed for a few years until I understood myself.

‘Restless’ would be a word to describe me. ‘Ambitious,’ if you’re generous. But anyway, long day, worked and ate and worked some more. There’s a half-empty bottle of wine from a week-and-a-half ago on my kitchen counter; it’s sour, but drinkable. Me and that wine have a lot in common.

This is all I’ve got tonight.

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

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“I am somewhat exhausted; I wonder how a battery feels when it pours electricity into a non-conductor?” – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventure of the Dying Detective