Coffee Log, Day 273

Hi.

Coffee: Some kind of sweet stuff they served at the Koury Center Thanksgiving Buffet; they told me it was coffee, but all I could do was take their word.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Things I’m thankful for: ….

Don’t you hate being put on the spot like that? Of course, in all honesty, I’m thankful for lots of people, places and things. But with the finger-guns to your head and a ‘ready-set-go!’ to tally up what matters in life, nothing seems to cut.

I drove to Burlington. I picked up my parents and we drove to Greensboro. It’s been years since we’ve cooked anything. Everyone’s busy, no-one can coordinate the labor, and none of us have a stomach for some kind of patriarchal pushing of the hard work on one person. I don’t miss it. I can cook any day of the year; only a few excuses for long drives with my family.

The convention center is done up like usual: two big Christmas tress in the lobby, a long aisle past the 1970’s indoor pool, a row of chairs around steel canisters pumping hot apple cider, reservation takers by the bar. You’re led to a table and slapped on the back like a new baby: ‘onward to feasting!’ My favorites this year were the sage stuffing and bundles of cherry peppers.

It’s nice seeing the faces people wear for the holidays. Painted and perked, you strain to smile at Uncle John’s bad humor or Aunt Tameka’s weird work stories. You don’t know these people. Hell, you don’t much like them. But today they’re family and you can’t deny that family matters. You’re trying to dip this moment in amber. You’re making a carefully staged photograph where all of you look better than on a Monday, or Tuesday, or…

A woman with a service dog tapped my shoulder as I was sitting down with a second plate.

“You really put it away for such a little guy! I’m impressed!”

I was caught off guard and didn’t say much, just a smile. She ate some ice cream with her partner and left. I’m glad the lady tapped me. I’m thankful to have been a part of her Thanksgiving.

Novel Count: 11,651 words

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

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After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.

Oscar Wilde, ‘A Woman of No Importance”


Coffee Log, Day 264

Hi.

Coffee: French Roast, Trader Joe’s Brand; tastes like the pine needles you used to watch your mother bunch around the trunk of every tree in the yard.

There’s a ridiculous corner of the apartment building just outside my window. It’s a hodgepodge of laminate vinyl siding, wooden bracing and brick. A few kids with Legos might come up with it. I’m pretty enamored with the corner.

2018 has felt fragile. People and places you loved have had .45 barrels lowered at them or have been consumed by political flames. In some cases, the flames are more visceral. How many times have the California fires trumped themselves for ‘most deadly’ this year?

I think it’s important to keep your eyes open to the tragedy. Even more important to keep focused on the tragedies you could prevent. However, sometimes it’s also necessary to step back and find yourself amazed at the vast, human complexity that we’ve built up and are scared to lose.

Take my apartment corner: how many hands had held her before she was born? There were architects, designers. There were the workers who shaped the bricks. Someone chopped tall trees in the Amazon for this corner. A woman in a labcoat theorized the perfect vinyl. All those pieces ticked away independently until they came together, only to realize everyone had set their clocks the same. Now I live inside it, the product of so many simple, honest, hard, human labors.

When you’re brushing your teeth or straightening your tie in the mirror, realize that you’re looking at one small, essential part of a triumph.

Novel Count: 8,314 words

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

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

“We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.” – Winston S. Churchill

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