Coffee: Colombian, Starbucks Brand (grocery store bought, a gift)
The train tracks are brown all around but silver on top. That’s where the force of friction burns clean as the train goes by. I’ve always liked this, the contrast. It’s hopeful – maybe we can all be burned clean.
I’ve been too busy this week to keep up with the news. I can imagine it just fine. I don’t know if it’s the times we’re living or if I’m just getting old but I’ve gotten to where I can tell the national trauma by checking peoples’ faces.
Today, I ate lunch at a Noodles & Co. It was busy, slick, wealthy. People kept coming in from the outside. Halfway through my meal (a pad Thai, too sweet) this girl in a red NC State hoodie takes a table two up from me. She has her plate, glass, everything she needs. But it’s a window table, and tall, and public, so she picks everything up again and sits in the corner where the walls meet. She eats fast and fingers a tablet. Her bushy black eyebrows are winter caterpillars.
So after lunch, I knew the world must still be wrong.
Currently Reading: Autumn, Ali Smith; Cherry, Nico Walker
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“I’ve got nothing to offer you kids but these noodles. They’re good noodles but they won’t change the world.” – Madeleine Thein
Coffee: Drip from Chik Fil’A; I don’t shop Chik Fil’A due to their outspoken anti-civil rights leanings, particularly when it comes to homosexuality. However, my office manager brought everyone Chik Fil’A this morning and insisted I have something. I had the coffee. It was sour like an old shoe. I appreciated the gesture, though.
I’ve been thinking about trains for no reason in particular. Four years ago, I road a train from Fukuoka to Kumamoto. It was a local line and fed the small towns dotted around mountains and valleys. There weren’t many passengers besides myself. I remember an old man who fell asleep reading the newspaper. I remember a boy and a girl who kept chickening out of holding hands.
My hometown, Burlington, was founded as a train stops. ‘Company Shops’ was it’s old name. There’s a tacky museum in the old carriage house and a lonely Amtrak terminal stuffed in a converted wheelhouse. Since I grew up across the tracks, I’ve got lots of memories of waiting in the car for trains to pass. Some were freight, some passenger, and I’d always try to get a good look at the faces as they whizzed by.
I haven’t been on a train since coming back from Japan. I don’t know the next time I’ll need one. Public transit can be a burden, but it’s one we carry together. Cars are pretty lonely in comparison.
Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The Way of Kings, Brandon Sanderson
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“Neither a wise man nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower