Coffee Log, Day 219

Hi.

Coffee: Americano, Caribou Coffee; I took a Saturday shift and got coffee on the way to work. It was a half-day, four hours, the coffee lasted two.

I served drinks at a friend’s wedding reception. I was behind the bar the whole night. I knew three people. I recommended wines for cake and vegan finger foods. I was mostly making it up, but people seemed to like it. Half of any front-facing job is knowing how to seem like you know it. Tonight reminded me of my years working as a barista.

One guy ordered Michelob Ultra and asked if I knew any jokes. I said I didn’t, but I’d trade him the beer for one of his own. He went long with the punchline, got cut off two times, but laughed a lot so I laughed with him. He was related to the groom through who-knows-what and I liked him. We talked a few more times. As the night went on, I drank a few beers. I told better jokes after.

A couple of aunts and uncles ripped it up on the dance floor. In between dances, they told stories about their kids. We talked about University politics and getting old. Her order was a Riesling, his a Michelob Ultra.

I spent a long time talking with two friends about anything. It was nice to give them drinks, nice to serve them. You don’t know somebody until you’ve got your arms and legs tied to their convenience. A person’s true colors are painted on the people who work for them.

At the end of the night, I talked History with a Daughter of the Confederacy. She was older, once a teacher, I told her my grandmother’s mother had been a member too. The first thing she said when those words came out of her mouth was: “Not for the race, of course, but for history.” Later, she told me about a time her ankle was torn and one of her students administered the physical therapy. She oozed a good soul. We hugged. ‘History’ and ‘race’ are inseparable to a Southerner. Sin is subtle. But for every sin there’s a proud woman who’s put good thoughts into generations of kids’ heads. Life is complicated. I poured her half a bottle of Moscato by the end of the night.

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

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“A kind of joyous hysteria moved into the room, everything flying before the wind, vehicles outside getting dented to hell, the crowd sweaty and the smells of aftershave, manure, clothes dried on the line, your money’s worth of perfume, smoke, booze; the music subdued by the shout and babble through the bass hammer could be felt through the soles of the feet, shooting up the channels of legs to the body fork, center of everything. It is the kind of Saturday night that torches your life for a few hours, makes it seem like something is happening.” –
Annie Proulx, Close Range

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Coffee Log, Day 123

Hi.

Coffee: Venti Americano, Barnes and Noble Cafe; I’ve been avoiding two things: Starbucks (because they’re ethically stagnant); Barnes and Noble (because they laid me off). But a friend was in town and didn’t have much time; he suggested the joint, I agreed. It was remarkably unremarkable. The cafe manager tried to sell me a membership.

I’m a few drinks into the afternoon. In no order, some thoughts:

It’s hard to be an artist in 2018. Well, it’s hard to be a good one. I’ve looked at life as two parts for a long time, the living and the the writing, mutually dependent. You’ve got to live to write and (at least for me) you’ve got to write to live. But 2018 is ten-miles a minute. 2018 is being able to forget about North Korea because kids are in concentration camps a few miles south. There’s a lot of living going on; for me, there’s not a lot of writing.

It’s been too hot. There’s an intersection in transition outside one of the Cary bank branches – they’re widening lanes. I watched men and women work the block last week. The had bright yellow vests. Milk-jugs of sunscreen. On Thursday, a truck ran red and got t-boned. Nobody asked the workers to help, they helped anyway, pushed the cars to the side, called the cops, swept the glass. Their pink skin was grapefruit. I was impressed.

Impressions of being broke in every whisky-topped wine glass; I spilled wine on a white lady yesterday. She wasn’t bothered. I managed not to make eye contact the rest of the night. I talked to two Methodists. A fifty-year marriage, twenty-years in Garner. They drank white wine and offered to pour me more. I took them up on it.

Currently Reading:

History of Wolves, Emily Fridlund (2017 Man Booker Prize Shortlist)

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“But who could agree with someone who was so certain you were going to be sober the day after tomorrow?” – Malcolm Lowry, Under the Volcano
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Coffee Log, Day 40

Hi.

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

Happy April! The March Short Story Contest is over and we have a winner! I’ve contacted her and she’s coming up with a topic so you’ll see the brand new short story on the site soon! Thank you so much to all the people who entered. I’ve got some ideas for an April contest and I’ll post about it soon.

It’s been a long week. It’s felt like limbo. Last night I drank some red wine and my brain felt mushy. This morning, it still feels mushy. The sun’s out, very bright, I hear kids playing. Easter – the holiday was always chocolate rabbits for me, nothing else. Today there’s no chocolate but I can still tell it’s a holiday: friction in the air like rope burns. I might go out and see the town. I like it when places are all closed for something. All those dark lightbulbs and pulled shutters mean people have somewhere lovely to be.

Currently Reading:
Tar Baby, Toni Morrison

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“These people privatized their houses by turning them backward away from the street, but publicized their lives and talked about wine as though it were a theology instead of a drink.” – Toni Morrison, Tar Baby

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