Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 186

Hi.

Coffee:  Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

I had a dark lager as the sun went down. That’s the end of that sentiment.

A kid I knew in high school thought he could summon something. An angel, a devil, none of us ever knew, but he was convinced. Well, he was convinced in the way every kid kids themselves: in on the joke so long that you stop laughing. One day, he brought fake blood to school and we had a seance in Spanish class. Our teacher was too busy wondering why he’d left his pregnant partner in Colombia to notice.

Later, that same kid stabbed another kid with a pencil.

We’ve all got problems.

I met a couple who were fifteen years apart in age. I thought they were mother and son until she said ‘This is my fiance.’ The couple commutes from the beach each week, traveling up the mouth of the Cape Fear river into it’s Piedmont esophagus. I cracked some jokes that got them laughing. Their laughs sounded the same, that’s how I knew they loved each other.

This week, an astronaut was charged with identity theft and fraud while she was stationed in space. It’s a big case because no-one’s committed crimes in space before. In orbit, her heart was getting weightless so she stole from an estranged partner. Confronted with the void, it’s our vices that fill us up.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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No one gossips about other people’s secret virtues.

Bertrand Russell, On Education

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 108

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee; where does all this coffee come from? It’s packed in blue plastic pillows, three scoops per. We get the pillows on order from corporate and they come in brown boxes stuffed to the brim. There’s no sourcing. I don’t know whose hands picked the beans or roasted them, who ground them up. I don’t know how much Maxwell House paid to package this coffee conveniently. I don’t know who’s putting dinner on the table (and who isn’t). I just drink the stuff and pinch my nose at it. Tastes like amnesia, or a radio blackout, every single time.

I read a story on Vice about human trafficking. Specifically, the sale of First Nations women between northern Minnesota and Canada across the wide, cold waters of Lake Superior. The article was mostly a reference to work by Christine Stark, a Master’s student at University in Duluth, who’s doing a study of the subject. Stark spends most of her days interviewing women who survived.

Anyway, the way they do it is gradual – friend, family, or a lover gets the woman (or child) dependent, bit by bit, until she’s obligated by shame or force. They use the water because it’s easier that way. It’s hard to barge into a barge, discover what’s going on. And the money comes mostly from parties. A rented yacht, a bruisy Autumn evening, Superior gone gold like Western movie posters, so glorious you can get away with anything, even the rape and sale of someone you’ve stripped of freedom.

I saw Superior once. I put my hand in her water. It was Presque Park, the tip of Michigan. She lapped like an ocean, even though we were far away from the coast. Clear to the bottom. Welcoming. Winter-cold, even though it was July. Back then, it seemed the only thing she carried were the oak leaves getting loose in a slick wind, but I guess she was also carrying a darker sort of cargo just a couple hundred miles away.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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

He paid her bills, rent, and the essentials for her children, but on weekends, “brought up other white men from the cities for prostitution with Native women… he had her role play the racist ‘Indian maiden and European colonizer’ myth…

Dave Dean quoting Christine Stark, on Vice.com, article ‘Native American Women Are Being Sold into the Sex Trade on Ships Along Lake Superior’

Coffee Log, Day 338

Hi.

Coffee: Cafe Pajaro Extra Dark, Trader Joe’s Brand; the last of the batch. Which is a good thing; I’ve been draining on these beans for too long. I’m a little mosquito that keeps nicking you at the pool. Our blood romance should have died in October.

I get paid $30 a month to not smoke cigarettes. It’s part of a wellness program at work, an insurance credit. My first year I didn’t sign up for it. The second year I did. I haven’t smoked since that night we held each other on the deck chairs in the apartment commons. I can’t think why I’d smoke again. Still, there’s this self image of myself in a plaid shirt with the buttons half done smoking out an open window. It’s the kind of sickness that gets in any self reported writer, like a rabid dog seeing everything as water.

But at least no-one’s paying me not to have a drink.

I read an article on whole grains. Typical stuff – health benefits, etc. Then I read an article linking fiber intake to longevity, and another that says gum disease may be the leading cause of alzheimer’s. Well, that’s probably true. A lot of people are getting paid to research it. But what can anyone do with that kind of information? You wake up and spit a little blood in your toothpaste – does that doom you? Probably, but it’s got to get in line behind a long list of other mundane travesties that laid claim on you first.

I remember this one morning a couple years ago where I got up and downed a shot of whiskey first thing. I was messed up, soul lost and heartbroken. I’m not an alcoholic and wouldn’t claim to be, but I’ve always known it runs in my family. So I think that morning I was trying to let something simple take me under. I was too scared to spend a long forever watching the blood come out of my gums. I wanted control. It’s what everyone wants.

Two things saved me from a second, or third, or lifetime of morning shots: the acceptance that people need me, for my tax dollars and cast vote if nothing else; and a deep, lovely cynicism – that all of us are Sisyphus, and the only way out is to accept the boulder as it crushes you, a tiny paper plane to pilot your spirit.

Novel Count: 18,933

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami

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

One always finds one’s burden again.

Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus