Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 252

Hi.

Coffee:  Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

I was standing outside the Chinese shop while I talked on the phone. Crisp night, autumn-darker, a few different engines running at low volume. A couple doors down is the ABC store so people were parking while their partners picked out liquor. I don’t know why people do this – hang like fish in the open ocean, suspended, ready to bolt with the tide – but they do, especially when alcohol’s involved. For the people purchasing, it must be nice to know there’s so much anticipation buzzing for them outside.

I was talking about work. My work, her work. We’d both had busy weeks, and the weeks weren’t always easy. She told me about a coworker who was having a rough time, how he was being tossed around by institutional pressures. And she wanted to help him if she could, or let him know that someone had an engine running for him outside, but she wasn’t sure where the line was between a person’s public and private life, what was okay to ask, and I wasn’t sure either. Along the boardwalk, as we talked, people went back and forth with brown bags, an old man in a green polo was shutting down a store advertising vacuum cleaners.

At home, after dinner, I was thinking about all the people I’ve worked with. Here, there, and elsewhere, some who seemed happy and some who didn’t. A friend from an old office is struggling with her identity and she talks about it online. I had a manager at a clothing store who chain-smoked outside the stockroom door. There’s a woman who moved to Iowa for her family and another who collects old metal keys to hang on her office door. I never asked any of them to elaborate. I never asked if their happy days were really happy, or what was rooted in the days that weren’t.

And I end up feeling thankful for the people who keep the gas running for me.

Currently Reading: Another Country, James Baldwin

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We each have a special something we can get only at a special time of our life. like a small flame. A careful, fortunate few cherish that flame, nurture it, hold it as a torch to light their way.

Haruki Murakami, Sputnik Sweetheart

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 223

Hi.

Coffee:  Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

I want to thank a couple people for tipping me a coffee: S&C, old friends from the open mic, respected colleagues, much appreciation. I’m reminded of that time about a year ago where you had a Halloween party in your backyard, we watched The Conjuring on your projector, carved pumpkins, drank beer. It was colder that year, more like fall. The wind in the trees was more mysterious than the movie.

An M – another dear friend I got to know when she entered the life of an old buddy, and whose wedding I got to attend when she finally married him. I’m flattered, and glad my words meant something to you.

I’ll use the tips to try something special this weekend – a different sort of brew, something I’ve never written about on here before. Good or bad, I’ll love every sip of it because of the warm thoughts it was brewed on, and I’ll be sure to give you all my best attempt at a review.

As for the rest of today’s Coffee Log, I’ll keep it short:

A large brown dog came into the bank at the end of the day. He was walking a woman who’d be shorter were he to stand on his hind legs. A sheepdog, the pup was scruffy and long-legged, and when he got to the table where we keep the deposit slips he decided to lie down.

Sometimes you see something and automatically have a name for it: I called him ‘comfortable.’

A couple minutes later, in comes another customer, one of our regulars, and she sees Mr. Comfortable and wants to pet him. The short lady speaks up “Please don’t get his attention.” There’s a pause, a thickening, confrontation, and the lady follows with “He’s a service dog.” That’s the end of that story. A couple minutes later, Mr. Comfortable takes his partner by the leash and leaves. The deposit-slip table looks vacant without him.

Don’t bother a dog when he’s working, I guess.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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The comfortable people want only wax moon faces, poreless, hairless, expressionless. We are living in a time when flowers are trying to live on flowers, instead of growing on good rain and black loam.

Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 122

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

Back at work. The week on pause, now it’s off. Commercials. Soaps. A sale. Two sales. Calling on a landline, waiting for an answer, so I can stick my fingers through the tiny holes and watch them travel between the telephone poles, nudging nesting birds or misplaced squirrels, kinetic, practiced, my voice running katas, until two tiny prongs protrude through the other end and I’m licking you with my fingernails, showing you the shape your face could be, the best look, your brightest, if only you would…

Too damn tired to take account of the day. I sit in two chairs, one for the morning and one for night; they both swivel; the only difference is whether I have to sit upright.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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Every time the telephone rings, you feel a frisson of excitement. The call is almost never exciting, but it is in our character to keep on believing.

Chloe Thurlow, The Secret Life of Girls

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 45

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

Rain came dramatically after work, a thunderstorm. It’s turned us all into frogs hopping between tiny islands of dry ground. We need the rain. It’ll wash off some of the pollen. Earlier, everyone was coughing on a yellow pine-pollen cloud.

I made something new for dinner. It had many familiar parts – onions, soy ground beef – but the seasoning was different. I chopped up cilantro. I added two limes’ worth of juice. I topped everything with cans of black beans. Mexican-inspired. I served it over rice. It was a good experiment.

Today was long and frustrating. I spent a lot of time spinning in place. Not literally, of course (that might have actually been fun). Work was a series of problems. I solved all of them, but they weren’t the kind of problems you feel any sort of accomplishment having solved.

I think that’s where I’ll leave it today. Right now, I’m drinking a glass of water and listening to the rain. I’m trying to move from ‘frog’ to ‘fish’ so when the thunderstorm goes long enough and the creek outside stars flooding, maybe it’ll carry me away.

Novel Count: 37,208

Currently Reading: The Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes

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And since today’s all there is for now, that’s everything.
Who knows if I’ll be dead the day after tomorrow?
If I’m dead the day after tomorrow, the thunderstorm day after tomorrow
Will be another thunderstorm than if I hadn’t died.
Of course I know thunderstorms don’t fall because I see them,
But if I weren’t in the world,
The world would be different —
There would be me the less —
And the thunderstorm would fall on a different world and would be another thunderstorm.
No matter what happens, what’s falling is what’ll be falling when it falls.

Alberto Caeiro


Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 32

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee; usually the office coffee tastes terrible but in a good way; today it tasted like nothing but in a bad way; I used the same scoops, same amount of water, same machine; no telling what was different.

The first day back to work after a vacation (even just one day off) feels momentous. All of a sudden you don’t recognize your coworkers. You can’t find that paperwork. Someone moved the stapler. The rest of the day it trickles back, these bits of beige confetti. “Hi Sandra, how’s the kids?” “Oh Steve, you joker.” But the suspicion that you’ve walked in on something – the whole entire world with it’s pants down – persists. By 5:00, you’re comfortable, but you’re keeping one eye open while you sleep.

I’ve got a short work week. Friday feels like it’s just a day away (really it’s three). I’ve got no plans for the evenings, no plans for the weekend, but spring’s perked up and now I’m restless – that feeling you should always be doing more. Ah, well. I’ll ride this wave as long as it lets me. I’ll write a little more. Or maybe I won’t. Either way, next week will be here soon enough.

Novel Count: 34,291

Currently Reading: The Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes

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Every person needs to take one day away.  A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future.  Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence.  Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for.  Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.

Maya Angelo

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 14

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

I had a new conversation with an old friend. She’s at the same old job. She’s got new responsibilities. She’s working harder. They laid people off. The company’s making money but not enough. They can’t meet growth. There’s new management. There’s old wages. They don’t get raises. They get more hours. They’re all salary. They get more responsibilities. There’s a big project. An old deadline, from before the layoffs, but the new boss had a meeting with the shareholders and now there’s a new deadline a few weeks early. My old friend’s pulling out her hair. She’s drinking black coffee at midnight. She’s wearing bright scarves. We’re talking old memories.

My generation makes money for other people.

Novel Count: 29,897

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami; FINISHED!

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You can be young without money, but you can’t be old without it.

Tennessee Williams




Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 8

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

I was walking past this bird in a bush on the way to my car this morning. The bird was going haywire. When I went by, it stopped. It was cold outside. It’s still raining. That bird had a secret – it had to thrash around for something, something important – but it didn’t want to tell me.

The day was buzz-buzz busy at the office. Cars went by. No-one kept dry. They tracked red mud back and forth in the bank lobby. They tracked it through my office. People having problems making ends meet, too busy for the mud on their shoes. I was on the phone. I was making calls. I was clicking waltzes and salsas on the keyboard. Rich and stressful. Then comes the client and I freeze. Smiles. I know something they don’t – a lot of somethings. Half the time, they don’t want me to tell them.

A week of birds. Bird week. Everything has wings. It can pick up and fly away. I’m waiting on a letter from the other side of the world. I’m waiting on good ideas, better sentences. I’m waiting on September because everyone is always waiting on September. I’m waiting for the weekend.

Oh, that last one’s actually here.

Novel Count: 27,617

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the Border – RAICES DONATION CAMPAIGNFrom the land of red clay, and lottery worship

From the land of red clay, and lottery worship

Spillage Village, ‘Metropolis’