Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 85

Hi.

Coffee: Pike Place, the apartment lounge machine

I’ve been trying to take my mornings back. The past two weeks I’ve set the alarm clock a little early, and it’s been hard, I’ve been tired, but today I woke up at 6:40 without asking my little blinking clock to guide me and that felt very good.

A part of my early mornings has been starting the day with walks. Nothing far, usually to the office to get coffee. It’s bad coffee, and I miss twisting up the beans with my hand-held grinder, but for now it’s a good excuse to move. Today, E came with me. We went to the lounge via the back way, through the gym (that always smells like yoga mats). There was no-one in the office this early. That was good – it meant this time was ours.

On the way back, mugs full, we stopped off at the community garden where E keeps a plot. She’s growing watermelons, though you wouldn’t know it by the tiny sprigs poking out of the ground. Next to her plot was an overgrown rose bush but the roses had withered and next to that were bright yellow squash flowers. Hornets buzzed between the plots like Monday traffic. A bright green lizard skated in and out of view.

At home, I took my coffee to the porch and wrote a little. I watched our flock of geese chasing each other through the grass. I read a message from a friend who was struggling with her sexuality. I cut an onion on sliced bread and ate it with sharp cheddar. All of this had me in the morning. There was a long, busy day that followed, but that’s another story. The early morning was enough.

Currently Reading: NOTHING! Couldn’t get back into Bourdain, no matter how much I tried; will pick a new book soon

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I love watermelon!
Chomp! Chomp! Chomp!

Greg Pizzoli, The Watermelon Seed

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 75

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

Every couple months I get these flashbacks to when I used to listen to rock. I’m a piss-poor college student living like he’s independently wealthy. I’m on a side-street somewhere looking for a record store. I’m throwing out band names at a party like they’re over-priced candy. I’m angry, sober, antisocial, a worried virgin. All the while bleeding from my ears to cranked up overdrive.

Simple things in life.

It’s easiest to yell and scream about the big things you have no control over. Capitalism, consumerism, hedonism, etc. Meanwhile, your voice goes so hoarse you don’t say much about the changes you could actually make. You walk past the homeless man without looking at him. No matter if you’ve got money to give, you don’t even shake his hand or ask his name. And don’t get me started about all the personal prejudices you’ve wrapped into hard-lined rock-and-roll attitudes. Most people who think they’re punk just can’t cope with their other labels.

I took another walk today. I’ve been walking around every day this week. Never far, just the neighborhood. Today, the clouds had covered half the sky but left the other half blank, a blue and white split like Santorini houses. There were people in the pool and geese leading babies. At one point, I stepped off the sidewalk to make room for a woman and her dog. The dog came over and sniffed me. She told me “That’s Atticus.” I told her “He’s a sweetheart.” The black lab licked me two times then they walked away. It was a harmless interaction, the kind you can’t have walking around with headphones on.

Currently Reading: Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain

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Smart but too lazy
To ever pick one thing
Now I’m staring at a dead end

Hard Girls, Running

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 74

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

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

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I might pull up late to class, but I always show up

Sylvan LaCue, 5:55

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 71

Hi.

Coffee: Pike Place from the Apartment Office Lounge; an overcast, semi-rainy day, unconscionable to not walk somewhere, so I walked to the lounge to get coffee; I was alone in the lounge; by the time I left, it started raining; lightly, though; I dried off at home with the help of the coffee; the taste was a mix of middling hotels and bingo games at the senior center.

Today, I swept the porch. It was still green from this spring’s pollen cyclone. We’ve got three chairs, I wiped down one of them but left the others because spiders had taken them over. If I’m being honest, I was squeamish to swat the spiders but also I didn’t want to hurt them.

So started a long day of going in and out of the apartment. I brought three different drinks to the deck. At 1pm, I tried writing. At 2pm, I tried reading. At 3 I talked to a friend, and at 4 I was just there because I couldn’t figure out where else to be. I was feeling restless. I’ve been feeling restless for a long time.

By six, I’d seen enough from the porch so I took a drive. The clouds had cleared enough to show some bright spots but they hung around the edges like a hopeless lover. There were sun showers and lots of people out walking their dogs. By the end of the trip, I’d crossed Cary. I was all the way in Morrisville. Coming back, the sky was just as complicated.

Currently Reading: Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain

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We are like roses that have never bothered to bloom when we should have bloomed and it is as if the sun has become disgusted with waiting

Charles Bukowski


Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 48

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

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: 6
Come out and support the Coffee Log!

I walked up a hill after work today. It wasn’t very big. A kid came roller-blading down the hill. She lives in my neighborhood and said ‘Hi!’ At the top, I said hello to a couple couples and their dogs. The sun was out but low enough that it didn’t burn. Then I got in my car and went to the store.

Driving. I kept the radio up and the windows down. The college station was playing grimy electronica. I liked the music. I took an extra loop through a neighborhood before stopping at the quick shop. The guy at the quick shop knows me. Not by name, and we never say anything to each other, but he’s always there and I’m there often enough. So he didn’t card me when I bought a six-pack.

I don’t know why I bought the beer. I thought it over the whole way home. It’s a Thursday. At home, I put the beer in the refrigerator. I looked at it in it’s plastic bag. Earlier in the day, I got a call from a coworker who was in a traffic accident. She was distraught. I pulled the plastic bag a bit to look at the bottles. They were starting to condensate. I closed the refrigerator door.

On the way back down the hill – driving home – I saw that kid again. She said “All these cars, I keep having to move out of the way.” I said “Yeah that’s no fair.” Now it’s late at night. The lights are still on. Even in the kitchen. Not a lot of things are fair.

Novel Count: 37,459

Currently Reading: The Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes

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The wastes of snow on the hill were ghostly in the moonlight. The stars were piercingly bright.

Maud Hart Lovelace, Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown


Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 46

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

Since it’s Spring, and cool, and a little cloudy, I took a short walk after work today. Nothing special, just a circuit around the apartment complex. There were weeks last summer where I would take a walk like this every day, but with winter and rampant rain for the last few months my strolls had tapered off.

Here’s what I saw:

Two kids were swinging on the swing set. They were both wearing blue, though not the same shade, and they were both talking loudly about school, though with different pitched voices. Isn’t it nice how kids become each other when they’re playing together? It’s easy to slip together with someone when you’re still learning who you are.

I saw a lot of crushed flowers on the creek banks. It rained so hard yesterday that trees were coming down. The creek flooded. The wind walloped. The brightest spring colors were washed into the mud. This means we’re close to summer. Another couple weeks and the heat-stink will be back. Oh well. Spring’s mostly beautiful because it doesn’t last.

A family of four was walking with their dog, a big black German shepherd, and the dad had to reign the dog in when it saw me. It started barking and slobbering. It was trying to protect it’s family. It looked very young. It hasn’t been around long enough to know I spend just about every day choosing to not be a threat. That’s what being human’s all about, right? The choice to avoid violence? Puppies can’t do that without a leash and a firm hand.

Two geese went by as I got home. They shared a long, sad honk. They looked like they were headed somewhere, maybe farther north for summer. I don’t know what they were sad about, what they were missing.

Novel Count: 37,208

Currently Reading: The Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes

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A sound like a big crowd a good way off, excited and shouting, getting closer. We stand up and scan the empty sky. Suddenly there they are (the geese), a wavering V headed directly over the hilltop, quite low, beating southward down the central flyway and talking as they pass. We stay quiet suspending our human conversation until their garulity fades and their wavering lines are invisible in the sky.
They have passed over us like an eraser over a blackboard, wiping away whatever was there before they came.

Wallace Stegner


Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 17

Hi.

Coffee: Sumatra Medium Dark, Trader Joe’s Brand; last of the batch. I had plans today, the plans fell through. So instead I had three cups of coffee in a sunlit room watching internet shows and reading internet articles and playing games with the new graphics card I got for my computer. Somewhere close to 10:00, I felt the caffeine. This blend is perfect for an easy morning. It’s not your best friend, not your lover, but it’s just good enough to make you feel fine without them. Oh, and it tastes a bit like walnuts.

A windy day. Makes me think of the Aegean. It was always windy on the Aegean. Sometimes, that meant you could stand on deck and spread your arms like flying. Other times, it was nauseating.

With the temperature pushing 70F and the rain having stopped, I took a walk. I went down my usual route but veered right where I often go left. The road spits into a calm park with a basketball court and a jungle gym. There’s a paved trail that skirts the park. I took the trail and called an old friend. He’s in school for a phd. We talked a bit about that, all the usuals of catching up, then I gave him some advice on banking. It’s weird to be able to do that: give constructive advice. For so long my skills have been tied up in art or thinking or workplace efficiency, nothing you can pass on to someone else. Now I’m being useful. It’s nice. It’s new.

After the call, I crossed a road bridge that spans an Interstate. The bridge shook and the wind was higher. A man was walking the other way holding his corgi and covering her ears. We caught eyes and I smiled at the dog. The dog looked terrified. I thought it was nice of him to do his best for her.

And now I’m home. Sunday’s still got a long way to go. Daylight savings – an extra hour of light.

Downstairs, three families are cooking pig ribs while their kids play. I passed them earlier when they were stoking coals. They were speaking Turkish. A long way from where they started, a new home. I wonder if this wind reminds them of the Aegean, too?

Novel Count: 30,349

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami; FINISHED! 

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It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.

Charles Dickens, Great Expectations