Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 300

Hi.

Coffee: Organic Dark Roast, Don Pablo’s

January’s almost over. It hasn’t felt much like January, a lot of warm days, not much cold. It makes me wonder how much my memories of January are accurate, and how much is made up – was it always this way? I’ve got this vivid picture of 10th grade – I’m in the Pre-Calc class with a lot of juniors; it’s an old school building and we’re on the second floor; suddenly, in the middle of doing problem sets, it starts to snow. Not a lot, just flurries, but it’s enough to drag us out of our seats and watch it. Cautious cream-colored snowflakes, falling down.

I read this article today about how traditional fishermen around the world are struggling to make ends meet, not just because of the overfishing from big commercial operations, but also – and ironically – from fish protection efforts that mark out sanctuary spots in coves in bays. These spots are supposed to help the ocean’s population recover, they’re blacklisted for fishing and come with stiff fines. But they’re also some of the easiest places to reach when what you own is a one-person row-boat. The commercial fleets can press farther and farther into the open oceans to dig up whatever survivors have swum that far, but people living simply – out of necessity, mostly, though sometimes choice – are punished for trying to take what little they can find close by.

The world’s changing. The seas are warming. We’re left with shorter winters, at least around here. It makes it hard to hope sometimes, but change is change, even when it’s bad, and the only golden rule to change is that it’s unpredictable, so I guess there’s also room to hope.

Currently Reading: Giovanni’s Room, James Baldwin

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

You [demagogues] are like the fishers for eels; in still waters they catch nothing, but if they thoroughly stir up the slime, their fishing is good; in the same way it’s only in troublous times that you line your pockets.

Aristophanes, The Knights

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 299

Hi.

Coffee: Organic Dark Roast, Don Pablo’s

A goose gaggle had taken over the parking lot outside Trader Joe’s. They were everywhere, and it was hard to drive.

I heard this story from M about how kids in an art project at her museum were asked to think of objects that they used everyday and 99% of them said their smartphone. And when she tried to poke and prod for other answers, there were blank faces, incredible stares, like ‘what else is there?’ These were first graders.

I took my cactus, Herbert, from the old office because no-one was watering him. He doesn’t need much, but he does need some, and now he’s sitting in my bedroom window drinking up the sun. I watered him yesterday and liked the way the dirt clumped around his narrow roots. I liked the idea of touching something, remotely, through a simple act of benevolence, it made me feel like a Messiah, in my own way, the best sort of full-of-yourself. Because the fact is, this cactus needs me, and another fact is, I need him.

What objects do I use everyday? It’s a long list, smartphone’s certainly up there. Then there’s the desk, and chair, and water glasses, the first and the second (I always forget the first glass and pour another before I come to my senses), computer keys. I don’t know what I’d do without any of it. Modern comfort. The first world.

The geese are headed south. They’re only here for a stopover, I don’t know how far they’re going. Geese like to eat and sleep as I do, and they like the company of other geese. They’re a million miles high sometimes, and others they’re on the ground. In a few months they’ll hatch their eggs, New life, new birth. What will the goslings says coming into this world?

‘Mom, where’s my iphone?’

Currently Reading: Giovanni’s Room, James Baldwin

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

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 298

Hi.

Coffee: House Drip, McDonald’s Drive-Thru; The branch I’ve been studying at doesn’t drink coffee. They make tea in the mornings or some kind of faux-Tibetan energy drink. The manager is a body cleanser. The tellers are in no more need of caffeine. But I’ve been doing this too long to start my day without the stuff, my brain knows to expect it; ages ago, in neuroscience class, I learned that the mind is plastic, and adjusts to substances and circumstances; that’s why opium addicts only tend to die of their addiction outside the opium bars – their bodies can handle the stuff when they’re in the atmosphere of the dens. If I’m going to study, I’ll indulge my minor addiction; McDonald’s coffee is bathroom towels on the way down, ones that have been sitting around too long, but has a nice aftertaste

I’ve been nose-deep in books this week (not the fun kind, but study guides). I learned about IPO’s. Initial corporate stock offerings. And today, Goldmann Sachs says they won’t take those IPO’s to market anymore for companies whose Board of Directors is only straight, white men. That means two things: 1) that there’s a price tag on diversity; 2) that price is pretty high. Good news, though like any capitalist action it’s hard to know how long it will last. Progress only happens when it pays, no telling if it’ll stop paying.

But it got me to be a bit introspective – about the work I’m doing, or will be doing once I’m licensed. And it made me hopeful, there’s good here, or at least the opportunity for it. It’s good to see a bit of silver lining alongside the harder storms of the day.

Currently Reading: Giovanni’s Room, James Baldwin

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

The corporate board has become a rare bright spot for gender and racial diversity at the highest echelons of corporate America. Almost half of the open spots at S&P 500 companies went to women last year, and for the first time they made up more than a quarter of all directors. In July, the last all-male board in the S&P 500 appointed a woman.

Jeff Green, writing for Bloomberg – Goldmann to Refuse IPOs If All Directors Are White, Straight Men

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 297

Hi.

Coffee: Americano, Caribou Coffee; smooth like two oysters rubbed together right out of the river, the way you knock the dirt off, and how the sand is mostly gone but some still gets to you; reliable, and good enough

This is the longest I’ve gone in two years without posting a daily Coffee Log, On Friday I was busy studying for my upcoming investment exams, and when I left the office I drove straight to Atlanta. Over the weekend, I was letting myself have the joy of participating in my life instead of taking a few steps back to look at it. Yesterday was more driving, and a bit of thought about MLK.

I remember we used to celebrate MLK day back in grade school. It was an excuse for semi-black songs sung in music class, the kind that have the culture toned down and not too much rhetoric of emancipation – Respect, or Lean On Me. There was a dream but we dozed through it, especially our teacher. And all us little white boys and girls felt equal in every way.

M watched ‘13TH‘ on Netflix yesterday while I was driving and told me about it, how a clause in the 13th Amendment about freedom’s contingence on criminal status had been manipulated after Jim Crow for the imprisonment of African Americans and the profit of everybody else. She told me how they showed Emmet Till two times on the show. Earlier, on Friday, when I first got to her apartment, she’d been reading this book about James Baldwin and they showed Till in there, too. So it was a weekend bookended by tragedies neither she nor I have to suffer directly, filled through the middle with our joy, a kind of American Oreo how you’ve got the black on the the margins, and this overstuffed privilege in the middle. At least we try to think about it, I guess, and let our hearts be haunted a little, but that doesn’t make it any clearer what to do.

I want to think of my joys as attainable and my sufferings as undeserved, but so much of my joy is bought on the backs of a wicked oppression, one that has its roots in my family tree. It keeps growing now matter how I’d like to trim it. Every year, it bears more fruit, so that the bitterness and hunger is belonged to me, an awful harvest, and one that, despite my clear-eyes and longing conscience, I continue to reap and continue to sew.

Currently Reading: Giovanni’s Room, James Baldwin

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

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Article 1, 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 296

Hi.

Coffee: Americano, Caribou Coffee

I got the car washed but it didn’t do much. There are black spots from last spring where the pollen stuck. I didn’t want a white car but that’s all they had for me. You can choose, but choices aren’t perfect. It was a drive-through wash, automatic, maybe the stains will go away with a bit of elbow grease.

Later, at the Wal-Mart, I was buying a desk-fan. I couldn’t find it and the girl who worked there couldn’t either. She asked a manager, who knew. I bought it but don’t know if it works yet. I need it for my desk in the new office, the one they’ve got me studying at. The office is a sauna. There’s a pretty window, though, on a technical college parking lot, with lots of clean cars.

Currently Reading: Giovanni’s Room, James Baldwin

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

Told you. Everything sounds better in the car wash.

Sarah Dessen, Just Listen

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 294

Hi.

Coffee: Organic Dark Roast, Don Pablo’s

Somebody I don’t know donated a couple dollars to my Ko-fi account. I’m a little embarrassed, like it’s Christmas but I didn’t get you anything. Mostly though I’m flattered. Anyway, thanks.

I went driving across town. I had the windows up because it was blustery. I was listening to that new Drake and Future drop. Most of the drive was sunny, even though most of the day was cloudy. But it got cloudy again around the old Kroger that Harris Teeter bought. It’s only ever cloudy when I’m around there. I don’t know what it is. Secret magic; un-understood science.

At the light, stopped, on the corner of High House where the lights are always long, I checked the news. There were stories on Iran. How they shot that plane down accidentally and now they’re owning up to it. So I was thinking about Iran the way I have been most of the week. I was thinking about how little I know of the country. I was thinking about that story from last century where we coordinated the coup against their democratic government and re-installed the Shah. A lot of stray thoughts that I don’t have enough room in my house for.

I fell asleep last night while M was still up. She tells me she’s up til two feeling restless, or kept up by the cat. Meanwhile I’m out. It’s funny how we share the world. How some of us are up, some of us asleep. It’s like there’s not enough room for everyone so we’ve got to take turns. A raft ride at a water park, sleepwalking toward the drop. And so much of it is scary but when I think about M up at odd ours, or opening her eyes when I’m clean out, it seems like things are in good hands. That’s peace, I guess.

Currently Reading: Giovanni’s Room, James Baldwin

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

Workin’ on a weekend like usual
Way off in the deep end like usual

Future feat. Drake, Life is Good

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 293

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything. I’ve gotten out of the habit and I’m trying to be gentle with myself about that. There’s a time and place for everything and my time and place have changed since I started this blog. 2020 looks better with the lights off, blissfully dreaming.

But I want to write sometimes and that’s where I’m at right now. I’m thinking about July, as I often do, thinking about the summer when it’s not summer, because summer is inescapable, the sticky heat, the haunting trees, the exasperating blue skies. Thirteen years ago, when I was 17, I wrote a poem at a summer camp. I wrote after curfew and got a few words from my roommate who wanted me to turn my light off, he was trying to sleep.

What a different time.

Last night brought restlessness before a few good dreams. I was thinking about work, about the people, not the job, and about brushfires, and about Iran. Most days, it seems like the world is just as restless as me. It has all these big things in front of it and lashes out anxiously. It can’t sit down, can’t focus, can’t come together, so we just keep killing or looting or burning, because fire warms up the coldest black heart, and disaster is at least some kind of momentum. But I think, really, what we’re all wanting is to calm down, take a good long breath, and find that place that’s peaceful enough for us to write something every morning. The freedom to think about your life is a luxury, one people less fortunate than me are dying for.

Currently Reading: Giovanni’s Room, James Baldwin

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

Sometimes we can become too holy and therefore, caged.

Charles Bukowski, On Writing