Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 223

Hi.

Coffee:  Americano, Caribou Coffee; like being back in university, it’s become a tradition for me to get a Caribou Americano on Sundays;; caffeinated church; I’ve been trading coffee traditions every couple months; the espresso was warming today, which went well with the second chilly morning of Fall

Sitting outside for five minutes while the dog ran around the park, L told me about his job. He works at a printing company and injured his hand on one of the machines. He’s been delegated to office duty, which he enjoys, but there’s politics involved that have him doing busy work because he hasn’t ‘earned’ the cushy spot off the lines. When he heals, there’s a chance he’ll be right back down there, stacking paper, pushing hot sheets through big machines. One thing he says he’s missing is the community – “Those guys all want to get to know you,” he says about the line workers. They were teaching him Spanish and had him over for barbecue on one of their birthdays.

I’ve been listening to the 1619 Project podcasts. I’m 3 deep in the show. In the second episode, they go over how American Capitalism has long roots in slavery, how its management practices come from foremen on the cotton fields. On the 3rd episode, it talks about how pop culture began in minstrel shows.

Two weeks from now I’m getting a promotion. It’s a new position and next year I’ll be learning investments. I feel good about the promotion because it means I’ll have more chances to hear peoples’ stories, and I feel good about the promotion because it means more money for not too much more work. There was a bit in that 2nd episode of the podcast where they talked about banking. Back in the 19th century, banks were trading bonds but the bonds weren’t backed by the treasury, or equity, but on the most valuable property at the time, human slaves. Many banks grew big and wealthy with this practice. Families were separated, white men were rich, and half the world had forgotten how to care.

Some people say that Autumn is a ghostly season. Those cold misty mornings, spirits slipping out of graves. I like this idea, and I’ve always like the celebration, the shared horror, popcorn face-masks and candy-corn, festive Halloween. But deep down below the sugar is a sicker stuff, the dead rot of history climbing through the tubers, coming out not in Autumn but under the hottest white July, to sweat and pool wherever you’re stepping, always under you, always out of site, but present, so present it sticks, and even when you take the afternoon shower to wash the grime down the drain, it never goes away.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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You would get nowhere telling him that weeds too have tubers, or that the first sign of loose teeth is something rotten, something degenerate, deep within the gums.

Zadie Smith, White Teeth

Coffee Log, Day 104

Hi.

Coffee: Cafe Pajaro Extra Dark Roast; I poured it in a new travel ceramic for work. The mug didn’t work too well but I like the way it looks. It was made by machines, but looks like it was made by hands.

First off, some house-keeping: I’ll be announcing the winner of the April/May contest this week! Life happened fast these past two months so I wasn’t able to promote the contest as much as I would’ve liked. Because of that, I’m putting contests on a hiatus while I catch up. I’ll do better in the future.

Now, onto the Log:

I talked shop with a geneticist outside a cafe. He told me his best friend was a writer. He told me his best friend makes no money but publishes anyway. I told him the guy sounds crazy. He told me the guy’s real happy. We talked a bit about labwork, the dullness of it, then he talked about the the way’s he’s compiling the human genome electronically. Computers talk like your high school English teacher: big words, clauses, Latin to me.

Speaking of language, I’m obsessed with it. There isn’t a better word. Probably a better phrase: dim-witted fishhook in a constant stream. But anyway, language is my obsession. When I was four, I wouldn’t let my parents put me to bed until they’d answered a few questions. The content wasn’t what I was after, but rather how they would say it: what’s two plus two? Four…door’s brother and dour’s close cousin. A lot of people call me Garrett and I think that’s fine, but deep down I’m obsessed with the ‘h.’

I spent some time trying to talk it out. We could be something, yeah? We could have something, yeah? Parrots for each other’s happy. But we just talked beside each other. Not past, because the words were hanging close to both of us, a finger, thread, half-done zipper. Then our conversation tied its shoes and walked off. I doubt I’ll hear from you again.

Do any two people speak the same language?

Currently Reading:
Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Way of Kings, Brandon Sanderson

Fund the Coffee Log 🙂 – https://ko-fi.com/livesaywriting

“The past is always tense, the future perfect.” – Zadie Smith

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Coffee Log, Day 87

Hi.

Coffee: Organic Honduran, Trader Joe’s brand

I had lunch at Nice Bowls Asian Cuisine. The lady assured me there was no meat in the egg drop; I tried to object but she was lovely; I had a bowl of egg drop soup with my Thai Tofu. It was good. It’s taste was spot on for chicken broth. Sorry chicken.

Most of my life, I’ve felt most comfortable in enclaves: Chinese restaurants, Greek diners. I realize now how complicated this is – that my ID gives me different rules than America’s immigrant communities – but I think parts of that comfort have value. America shows her best side when she’s stitched of other nationalities. Our open borders have never been quite open, and prejudice has always waited at the docks, but the semi-reached dream of open arms and cultural co-mingling is beautiful.

I finished lunch and waved at the pre-schooler doing his letter learners below a big yellow wall clock. The restaurant smelled like basil. Classical music daydreamed into cool jazz. It didn’t fit the picture of congested Cary streets. I’m happy that the lady welcomed me today; the chicken’s blood was worth a bit of human warmth.

Currently Reading:
Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Way of Kings, Brandon Sanderson; I haven’t read fantasy since middle-school. That’s a result of equal parts preference and literary elitism. I’ve been hacking away at the elitism for years, and The Way of Kings came highly recommended by a highly respected friend. I want to understand what makes fantasy works. People want to read Sanderson, they don’t want to read me yet. I have a lot to learn.

Fund the Coffee Log 🙂 – https://ko-fi.com/livesaywriting

“No fiction, no myths, no lies, no tangled webs – this is how Irie imagined her homeland. Because homeland is one of the magical fantasy words like unicorn and soul and infinity that have now passed into language.”- Zadie Smith, White Teeth

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Coffee Log, Day 60

Hi.

Coffee: Organic Sumatra Blend, Trader Joe’s Brand

I think about family. I belong to a lawyer and musician who met at a Chapel Hill bus stop. That’s the only ownership I’m certain of but I’m damn sure I’ve got more ties than that. Every so often I open my bedroom window, listen to whatever’s out there, and try acknowledging my blood.

The South is inside me. It sets me on one side of the train tracks, even though I grew up on the other. I’m white as day-lilies and grew up poor as my third-son ancestor who left England for Virginia when he knew he’d inherit nothing. I consume black art. The people I’d like to relate to, I have no right to. The people I’m welcome with frighten me.

There’s a handful of people I’ve struggled to get my genes inside. Metaphorically, sometimes, and a little more literal at others. We met in disparate places for no particular reason. Meaning has a funny way of finding you.

Work friendships and loves like a sleepless cobbler. Everybody needs a good few shoes to keep off the ground.

Currently Reading:
The Pardoner’s Tale, by John Wain

Fund the Coffee Log 🙂 – https://ko-fi.com/livesaywriting  

“Looking at them both now, Jerome found himself in their finger joints and neat conch ears, in their long legs and wild curls. He heard himself in their partial lisps caused by puffy tongues vibrating against slightly noticeable buckteeth. He did not consider if or how or why he loved them. They were just love: they were the first evidence he ever had of love, and they would be the last confirmation of love when everything else fell away.” – Zadie Smith, On Beauty

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