I am learning the subtle art of making coffee. And what I'm learning is that I'm not very good at it.
The machine is supposed to do most of the work. My pot at home, or where I used to call home, certainly did. I remember the first time I used it, when I realized, staring blankly at the filters in front of my then girlfriend, that I had no clue what I was doing, that this plastic thing in front of me was demanding attention from someone other than a perky, round-bottom barista, or rather more often, to the Jason Mewes looking guy who was just trying desperately to sling as many espressos as he could across the counter until he could afford to get the hell out of that place, and probably, out of the state. Post-script to the story? I went back to my coffee shop a few months ago, just to check, not to stay, I really couldn't have sat on that couch again. And he was gone, that morning saint who'd memorized my coffee-with-soy, he'd finally gotten out.
I saw him later, working at the coffee place next door.
I was lucky. In that moment without him, that time when I needed to look macho and knowledgeable in front of this girl, to show I had the manhood necessary to operate the coffee maker, I had absolutely no clue as to what I was doing. And that girl let slide. Though I am young, I think that there is rarely a show of love so strong as not pointing out another person's stupidity, save perhaps a few Lloyd Dobler-esque gestures or something involving one parachute.
It was a brilliant moment of triumph for me, and one she let me take complete credit for. I have no idea why, but if anyone here is eyeing sainthood, I'd consider taking notes. And from here on in, I felt I could master any coffee machine, or at least any that relied so heavily on the common three-part construction of maker, filter, and pot.
Post eviction, I found a new challenger. It didn't look any different [okay, so maybe it looked older, though one wonders if even the most posh and modern coffee makers manage to look as though they were made after 1979 -- a trait shared only by the digital clock], but there was something not quite right, one might almost call it contrary, and it had no sympathy for someone careless in its use. Too much coffee, and it's bubble over, beating back the filter from it's inner walls and filling the belly of the pot with grounds, while too little meant brown water that tasted more or less like what came from the tap. Measurements had to be exact, and not exact to any particular, measurably amount, no, it had to be exact to the old, disposable cup someone had once left in the container now holding the grounds. It didn't want to give me coffee; it wanted to give me a hard time, and to leave it the hell alone and let the woman who had cared for it diligently for years to continue to brew everything just right.
I find I hate it, for not respecting my nostalgia.
I spoke to Kyle today about "Nova." He's taken on another side-project, but feels his schedule will be freeing up a bit soon, and work will probably happen then. I've been thinking about some design things, particularly for the wings of the angels, something maybe a little more current to the trends as well as easier and cheaper for us to do. Nothing permanent enough to mention here yet, but maybe in a few days, after Kyle and I have had some time to ruminate on it.
I'm only up now, drinking my weak swill I made myself, because my allergies have hit me pretty hard, and sleeping just wasn't on the agenda last night.Which is a shame, because earlier in the day I finally slept quite a bit, and caught up after the two 36+'ers I pulled in tandem there. I find myself desperately wishing it would freeze outside, just to give me a little relief.
My last post made it sound like I was getting back to work. I really thought I was, but after sitting with several piles of papers all I could think was how I had no idea what I wanted to work on next. Barring 'want' there's nothing that needs my immediate attention, so that's out as well. Something new might be cool, assuming it wasn't a "completely take over my life" sort of something new, but I'm always short on inspiration while trying this hard. A lot of other writers have told me that at times, it's better to "just write" which is, more or less, what this post is, me putting myself at the computer and just trying to produce, even if the end result isn't very good. And anyway, it's my blog, so if I want to turn my mind out and see if it does a trick [that works on so many levels], then that's my prerogative.
Lot on my mind. Might need to sit, re-organize things up there a little bit before I can get to work again. But there are these panels in my head, like comic books, all drawn by John Romita Jr. [I have no idea why I'm thinking in his style, but it's happened before, in high school, so much so that if I met the man I might ask him to draw Jay Gatsby], of myself and others, of things I watch on TV or read that I've written. And they seem so... clear. It makes me want to get it all out so I can look at it proper.
So there's that.
I wish I had a novel in me. This is national novel writing month or something ridiculous like that, where everyone and their cousin are trying to write one, and I find it offensive for a number of probably unfair, and most certainly elitist reasons. The novel is one of the few formats/genres I still put up on a pedestal, and the idea of attempting to finish one in a month causes me physical pain. To illustrate, people have, usually lovingly, told me that I tend to agonize over whatever I'm working on, and I currently think a novel is too big of a mountain for me to climb. Which on the surface probably doesn't mean anything to anyone but me, yet it seems like a heavy responsibility to shoulder just because an internet holiday tells you to. Think about what you're taking on, is all I'm saying.
Eh. Ignore me. I'll always be uptight when I think folks are being cavalier about writing. Imagine how indignant I'll get if one day someone starts paying me for it.