Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 200

Hi.

Coffee:  Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

How many posts since I started this thing? 556? No, I missed three days, so 553. Sometimes you’ve got to take stock of yourself. If you’re always looking at the future, you’ll never know what you’ve learned.

I had a friend tell me I was being ‘willfully obscure.’ She was talking about a post I made a few days ago, the way it ended, signs without symbolism, etc. Fair point. If I had to pick a topic to pin the entire Coffee Log to it might be ‘obscurity.’ We all slip in and out of it, putting our heads down so they can’t see us, or hiding our eyes from the roadkill. From the artists in the articles I reference to the banker across the hall, its in all of us, its how we survive. But there’s a difference in creating a narrative to hide in and hiding from something inside a narrative – the ‘willful’ part is a problem, it shares its name with all those black flags that wave around socially acceptable oppression. Another thing I’ll have to pay more attention to.

There was a lot of talk about 9/11 today. Everyone remembered where they were when it happened. The memories came out on blue and red carpet, strutting their patriotic stuff. Someone told me they had ten moments of silence to observe. A few people were pushing commemerative articles.

I was in 6th grade that day. I was taking social studies. We were huddled on the floor working projects, drawing maps. Our English teacher came in and then the TV’s cut on. We saw the fire, the smoke.

By the next class everyone knew what was going on. Some kids called home, some stayed. The teachers knew enough to be more nervous than the rest of us. In all of it, though, the thing I most remember is how we all got to talking about killing. First it was the blonde kid at the back of class, then three girls with pigtails, and even the teachers got in. We wanted vengeance, blood and murder. Everyone was talking bombs.

18 years later, those thoughts we gave birth to have grown up. They take late night drives around immigrant detention centers, party hard with the Yellow Vests in Europe. A white-sand prom in poorer countries, the way we pick apart Afganistan and dance with the Taliban, leaning close to kiss lips of gun muzzles, so caught up in the emotion that we won’t ever let this long night end.

Slow down, breathe, and take stock once in a while. Did the 3000 lives lost really call for all this? Was one awful day worth drinking gasoline with the world?

I love the way you paint your face to look better than you are. But I hate the way you paint over the parts that are hardest to talk about, willfully.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.

Voltaire

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 93

Hi.

Coffee: House Blend, Ithaca Coffee; these beans traveled 600 miles in a brown bag to get to my grinder; they tasted like the trip; in color, the coffee came out nearly clear like a good light roast, but when you taste it there’s a heft; I thought about craft beer – IPA’s, all the rage, something you call ‘light’ but bites you when you dig in, a snake, a cat, a barn mouse scared out of its wits; but like those little critters, once you get past the first shock of the coffee, it opens up to you; maybe you’ll never quite understand each other, but you know you’re friends; there’s love there; there’s something warm; if you like bitter sweets, long winters, or old pairs of gardening gloves, this coffee is for you; a gift from H, an old friend; thanks for the coffee.

The best thing to remember on Memorial Day is that you are responsible for the dead soldiers being memorialized. Wow, that was morbid, huh?

But I’ve got to drive it home because we forget it so easily these days with our foreign wars and volunteer army – every man and woman that dies for your country dies at your command. You might not agree with what they’re fighting for. The public swell might have demanded bloodshed you think unconscionable. But as long as you share in that public, you’re a part of it, and no amount of noble, right-headed protest takes away the responsibility for the act.

So think about that a little bit. Think about the death. Not as noble or ignoble, but as sad. And as something in your control. Then go out and vote so less soldiers die, and for less murky reasons.

Currently Reading: NOTHING! will pick a new book soon

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All war is a symptom of man’s failure as a thinking animal.

John Steinbeck

Coffee Log, Day 148

Hi.

Coffee: India Extra Bold Roast, Cafe Crema

I talked to a soldier, an officer. He was career, 35 yrs, started in ’80, a combat medic, now he teaches other combat medics. He was a friendly guy with a sailor’s tongue (though he was Army) and told stories about drills. He described a practice kill room.

“They’ve got to get the body, check ’em out, and sometimes I’d put grenades under them so if you don’t check you’re fucked. And then I make the partner go in and now he’s got to deal with your shit too.”

He’d dropped out of college when a snooty professor told him what to do. He walked right up to the Prof and said “Repeat that and you’ll lose your left eye.”

The officer had his fourteen-year-old daughter with him. The whole conversation, she kept making fun of his wrinkles, his gray hair, how much he sweats when he does the rucks after turning 50. He took the beating. They left with their arms around each other.

Real love is someone that lets you let go of all the hard, strong things you spend your life holding on to; real love is someone that gives you a reason to keep carrying all the hard, strong things to the end.

Currently Reading: LaRose, Louise Erdrich

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“When you love you wish to do things for. You wish to sacrifice for. You wish to serve.” – Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms
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Coffee Log, Day 48

Hi.

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

I’ve been reading the news. Its wakes me up and follows me to sleep. Recently, it’s been bloodied bodies in Syria. A few years ago, it was the same thing.

I don’t have any immediate fears. Unemployment was a lurch, but I’ve got friends, I’ve got family, I’ve got every proposition of the modern world waiting to feed and water and fertilize my life’s soil. I haven’t spent a day without power. The lights are on. The kitchen’s cooking. No-one has a gun to my head.

A couple weeks back, I was reading about Russia. ‘Satan II’ they called it, the missile Putin’s testing. Every article told me one warhead would wipe out an area the size of Texas. I’ve been trying to think of something witty or lucid to say about it, but nothing comes to me. There’s no way to comprehend it.

But today everything’s fine. The power’s on. The sun’s out. AC blowing and not a care in the world.

Currently Reading:
Tar Baby, Toni Morrison

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“It happened that a fire broke out backstage in a theater. The clown came out to inform the public. They thought it was a jest and applauded. He repeated his warning. They shouted even louder. So I think the world will come to an end amid the general applause from all the wits who believe that it is a joke.” – Soren Kierkegaard

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