The Process

Tag: coffee

6

At night we argue until I decide to spend the next day cleaning the house, and what I do is hire someone else to do it while I clean the crevices in my teeth, because I thought I smelled the dying person smell on them, because my agreement was to become gone as soon as the old breath happened in this life, and it’s too early as just the other day I got home first and was alone and the cats were out because they’re not here and I was shocked and disabled by my solitude and as a result shocked and upset at the inability to be around nobody, not even fur balls and skin balls with legs, and I walked around and around and laid down and was forced to go inside my own body, which I rarely have to do.  She got home a few minutes later, and I could come out again, and I didn’t have to stare at my own hands anymore; I looked at her, because I like to, and she is not me.  Today we drank coffee and ate pasta and I put on an alpaca hat and scrubbed her skin in the shower because I had already washed my hair because I had gone to the gym to exercise in vain, so vain, because I know I will be stopping soon and have so much more weight to gain than to lose, because that is usually the case for most people, and there’s a long way to go until the opposite is true, and this concept forces a person to realize This Fat Ass is the smallest version of itself left in this lifetime, and that forces a person to befriend it or even to just stop dreaming of looking like a skinny Asian or white man.  The hat in the shower got damp, and I figure my hair smells a lot like a barnyard animal, which is probably gross to everyone around me, which is no one, so it’s alright.  And I worry, a little, about the cleaning person coming in, because I hope it brings its own soap and stuff, and paper towels, too, because we are out.  But when I was four, my babysitter washed my brother and sister with shampoo in the bath, and she told me it was the same thing as soap, and she was right, and I liked it, and to this day it makes me think anything is transferrable, like any glue, and my girl says there is shoe glue to glue shoes back together and ceramic glue to glue ceramics back together, and the only ones I knew were Gorilla and Elmer’s and the two questions are “why are so many things breaking?” and “if shoe glue is for shoes and ceramic glue is for ceramics, then is Gorilla glue really for gorillas, or do gorillas just trump everything, and if part A is true, then who is Elmer, and is he fine?”  But I’m more worried about talking to the cleaning person, because I am not supposed to leave it here alone, in case it steals all my broken shoes and ceramics.  I don’t know where I’m supposed to hide while it cleans, so I chose not to have my bed made so that I can use my bed as a private island.  Can I tell the person that the private bed island is sound proofed?  Does the cleaning person supervisor role allow me to get drunk on the Isle of Bed while the person is there?  Do I have to give it a drink if I’m having one?  Should I  offer it a snack?  Should I get cash for a tip?  Can it use shampoo to wash the floor?  Is it voting for Trump?  I’ve eaten 6 slices of turkey and some poofy but not puffed Cheetos today.  My dad said he eats canned beans and broccoli for lunch, and I agreed with him that sometimes I just eat food that barely qualifies as it in the name of energy or even health, such as the time I ate mainly chickpeas out of the can for days because of poverty but actually because of being lazy and disgusting.  But if I want to get something with good flavor in it, I will have to go quickly in case the cleaning person gets here too early while I’m flossing and listening to Patti Smith and breaking and glueing and having sore muscles that make me want halal food which is so delicious.  And my sister wants to talk on the phone–and that is what I’ll do!  I’ll Skype my sister so that I can ignore the cleaning person!  And she can watch me in case it is secretly a killer on the loose and that way she will have all the clues!  I like it, I like it a lot a lot.

The Things That Happened

The truth lives inside a hangover, so when I woke up in my floating I thought about the little truths that I know like how normally I would save a day to cleanse but that I’m tired of trying to be <, and I would rather lay down and eat bowls of cereal instead.  Actually, I’m going to leave behind commas for now to say the true things because they box it up wrong.  And I got out of bed and bought wheat bread and bologna and the man at the counter kept not knowing what I was saying and it hurt my head to try to decide if I was being too quiet or if he just didn’t speak English and it was hard because I mumble and I still had a floating head.  And I went back upstairs and made the fried bologna sandwich in case the lady wanted to wake up and eat something greasy to make the pain stop and I took a bite and went back to bed.  And then she left and I sat on the toilet absentmindedly while her cat yelled at me and then the cat and I laid down and I couldn’t get up and I had to make myself leave to do the day and I walked toward the train but I kept not wanting to leave the air of the day so I kept walking past each R stop.  R R R and then I went into the Harley Davidson cafe for a coffee because why not…but the why not is that the coffee was watery and not cold enough and the lady was bitching about a woman paying in change and I was too tired to hear even though I understand.  And then I got on the train at Canal because it was time and I didn’t feel like buying art supplies anymore because I’m tired and maybe my bank account is low and maybe I would write instead.  On the train there were a few beggars, a dancer, and a couple of men chatting about normal things, which reminded me that all the world’s a stage.  And the concept of blissful ignorance exists on many many levels.  And I thought about how my mom said talking to me is like talking to a forty year old woman and is it weird that made me glad.  And I thought about how I always ask if we died and this is the afterlife.  Just the other day I saw a man in a burger suit advertising for a burger place on a hot day and I thought about how maybe this is actually the afterlife and that hell and heaven exist side by side on earth or everywhere and we’re just all experiencing the joys and punishment on a continuous loop but how that would be hard to support without the existence of a god or karma and that even still we might all just be random.  Because I am so convinced that when I die I will be completely done.  But then there are infinite possibilities of what could become of a person after death…like maybe you’d just be on a beach with Bjork like in the exhibit at PS1.  Or maybe all the world is just Bjork’s imagination while she’s on the beach and when you take your headset off you die.  Or I am Bjork.  Or you are or this is death or every night sleeping is dying and tomorrow is the afterlife.  The point is that every action doesn’t matter if we are going to die once and for all but if each new sleep is death and the afterlife is living in the effect of your previous action, then everything is completely relevant and direct and god is cause and effect or life and death and afterlife is cause and effect and god is still a scapegoat that lives on some people’s lips.  Or when I die I will go to hell for my debauchery and eschewing religion or I will go to heaven to prove a point and God will laugh at me and say “gotcha, bitch.”  And then I got off the train and considered buying a bagel but couldn’t believe I could think about food because of the fact that I drank two margaritas and seven glasses of wine last night and ate dinner and woke up and ate part of a greasy sandwich so I just went home.  And as I walked down the street with the flowers emerging from the branches I smelled buckwheat honey and semen on the lukewarm breeze and felt peaceful with a tinge of disgust which is what Spring is about I guess.  And the thoughts I had when walking down my street became a story like a fantasy I guess but I hate the word fantasy when it refers to anything besides some sort of great ideal occurrence so I would call it more of an imagined story where I was telling someone about how the reason that you never say “never” is because never is a tiny fairy that is summoned when you say her name and she brings you the thing of which you spoke.  Never always comes to get you, you know.  With the commas, I know, but fuck you…because I’m allowed to do anything, really.  And they fit there.  In a way that made my brain feel OK.  I thought, too, about how I had meant to be better.  “What had happened was” is a great way to put it What had happened was what had happened was dot dot dot.  Dot dot dot dot dot dot.  That makes life an ellipses.  Or considering my inability to comprehend whether life is life or afterlife or day or whatever then I am just an ellipses or an excuse or a shrug and a piece of belly fat that tried to say I’m not sure I care or this is just the way I am because inertia is real and change requires energy, focus, and tunnel vision, none of which I really possess at the moment.  I would almost say I’m wry but it’s a raw thing too and a bit of heavy jading.  Yeah I wake up worried because of myself and the expectation of catastrophic abandonment but if I’m to embrace my abundant mediocrity it’s just a doom I’ll come to terms with and come to love one day, as those things often happen.  It makes me laugh a little just because it reminds me of the part where Motley Crue sings “if you want to live life on your own terms, you gotta be willing to crash and burn,” and maybe I am that and by transitive property Bjork is crash and burn or the absence of it…and it’s not necessarily willing to crash and burn but accepting that it’s probably coming and What had happened was dot dot What had happened was hold me closer tiny rocket man dot dot dot dot dot dot dot dot dot dot dot dot dot What had happened

The Lost Kids

EIGHT

“Gretchen.  Gretchen.  Wake up!”

“Wha?”

“What are you doing out here?”  I look up, and Vanessa is looking down at me, expression both concerned and annoyed.  I look around, and I am in fetal position in the corner outside the door to our apartment.

“I couldn’t get in last night.”

“Do you have your keys?”

“Yeah, but I think I lost the one to our door.”

“Alright.  Well I can make you a copy later.  Come inside.  Jeez!  I can’t believe you slept out here all night.  Like, someone could have hurt you out there.  I don’t understand why you didn’t just call me or something.”  By the time I got home, she probably was already up eating her oatmeal with banana and flax before the gym, but who’s to say for sure.  I walk into the apartment and sit in my chair, dazed.  I mindlessly thumb through my bag to take inventory of my belongings.  Cards, keys, phone, shamrock…Where is my shamrock?

Earlier in the year, an old lady in the park came over to me and my friend and gave us each a four leaf clover that she had mounted on card stock with Scotch tape, each with the date of the find on the back.  I wouldn’t say I had any great luck since then, but I believe in a self fulfilling prophecy, and if I felt lucky, maybe I was projecting luck on my own life.  Well, now it’s all up to chance again.  Maybe it’s better that way.  Keep the superstition to a minimum; take no scapegoats.  “I would totally stay and listen to whatever crazy stories you have from last night, but I’m running late for the gym.  Want to do lunch sometime this week?  We really need to catch up.”

“Sure.”

“Are you OK?”

“Yeah…I’m like totally great,” I respond, making a mild effort to communicate in her basic tongue.

“OK, bye!”  She leaves, and I am relieved of her frantic energy.  If I were her, I probably wouldn’t have to go to the gym.  Just burn off all the calories with my nervous energy.  I feel better after sleeping a few hours, but I still have a creeped out vibe from what happened with Izzy.  Oh well.  The clock says it’s eleven.  Not bad for my Saturday; I still have a full weekend ahead of me.  I reach for Vanessa’s copy of the Times, but then I remember that it’s Tuesday, and the food section won’t be out until tomorrow.  My brain is running at half speed, but I don’t feel like going back to sleep.  Still, I retreat to my room and lay on top of my unmade bed.

I text Hem, Hey dude.  where are you?  brunch?  do you have work shit today?  i’m back at home now.  I get up and shower, dropping my razor, the soap, the shampoo bottle…basically everything as I attempt to clean up my hair, body, and conscience.  You can’t unsmudge a conscience with soap.  It takes tougher stuff.  Turpentine, maybe. I think to myself.  I laugh.  So funny.  Not so funny

When I get out of the shower, I check my phone.  Hem responded, back at my hotel in soho.  the boss has a crush on me.  i don’t have to work this trip lol.  i’ll come to queens if you make eggs.  I text him back, cool.  bring eggs.  i have bread.  wait, it’s moldy.  bring bread.  

Hem buzzes in an hour later, and by then, I’ve composed myself a little and put on my favorite slippers—fuzzy, evil, cyclops bunny slippers—and my raggedy flannel bathrobe I found at a flea market.  I’m only allowed to wear the robe when Vanessa isn’t home, because otherwise she breaks into impassioned soliloquies about the dangers of bedbugs passed on through old clothing and how girls our age shouldn’t succumb to the trend of looking homeless for the sake of fashion, because we have standards to uphold, and all the rest.  It’s really just super comfortable, and I can’t see how some silk kimono bullshit could hold a candle to it, but whatever.  I think her mom used to put her in pageants as a child or something.  It’s unclear.  I open the door, and he’s there, looking disheveled but also mildly refreshed.

“So you and Izzy, huh!” He grins, elbowing me in the ribs.  “Girl, what is this robe?  I love it.  It’s like classic grandpa.”

“Thanks, I know.  It’s the best.  And…um…no, nothing happened.”

“I thought you went back to her place!”

“I called her Jenna.”

“I see.”  He places his grocery bag of breakfast items on our kitchen table.  “Well if it makes you feel any better, after Hannah and I did some more coke, I shit my pants a little and had to go home.”  I laugh and almost choke on the water I’m trying to drink.  “It was my fucking unicorn boxers, too.  I just threw them out.  I’m so disappointed.”

“It’s ok; we’ll find you some new boxers.  It won’t be the same, but life goes like that.  I lost my shamrock last night.”

“Aw, no!”

“Yeah.”  I open the plastic bag, and take out the eggs.  “Dude, why did you get a baguette instead of like white, wheat, or rye bread or something?”

“Please.  I can’t eat that crap anymore.”  Oh, OK.

“Well excuse me for living in America.  Alright, fine.”  I toast pieces of baguette and drizzle them with some of Vanessa’s expensive olive oil.  Hopefully she didn’t weigh this on her psychotic gram scale before leaving, because I don’t feel like getting into that battle.  I make a soft scramble with six of the eggs.  Although I’m more of a fried eggs person, the idea of a runny yoke does not sound nice right now.  We eat in silence, for all of the two minutes it takes us to scarf up our breakfast.

“Let’s go spoon in your bed.  I just want to lay down.  I can’t do it today.”

“I’m little.”

“Fine.”  We go into my room and snuggle under my itchy blankets, which I also got at a flea market.  “Are you a horse?  Like why are these blankets so itchy?”

“They’re nice blankets!”

“So are you OK, Gretch?  I thought you were over Jenna…It’s been like over a year already.”

“Yeah…I thought I was over it too, but I still have these flashbacks, and I think sometimes I wonder if I shouldn’t have cut her out of my life.  I kind of feel like when you’re so close with someone like that, you exchange parts of yourselves.  I know that sounds so fucking cheesy.  But like when you lose them, it takes a long time to repair or find the half of yourself you gave up.  I don’t know what I’m saying.  I’m kind of delirious.”

“I get you though.  But maybe it just wasn’t meant to be.  You never know if maybe your new path in life will bring you something better or put you on the right path to your destiny.”

“But I don’t believe in that, dude.  Wait take your hands off my stomach…No, that’s my boob.  What are you doing!”

“Sorry!  You know I like boobs,”  he giggles.  “But continue.”

“Well I just don’t think things are just meant to be.  Or that everything happens for a reason.  That’s such a bad excuse.”

“What about God or religion?  You must have some belief system…”

“Pff…no way.  To me, that’s the ultimate sham.  Something good happens, it’s because of God.  Something bad happens, it’s because of God.  God is the ultimate scapegoat that humans created to explain the inexplicable.  Heaven is the coping mechanism to counter the possibility of eternal nothingness.  Hell is the fable to keep humans in check.  To me, everything is a matter of chance.  You and I are a cluster of cells, just like anything else.  Our intelligence allows us to think otherwise.  But to me, it’s more likely that each of us is a cell in a greater body than that each of us is a person placed on earth by God, and that if we do good, we go to a cooler place, and if we do bad, we go to a shitty place.  That’s the most basic idea I’ve ever heard.”

“Jesus Christ…I don’t even think my brain can get on that level right now.  Ratchet it down a bit, OK there, Socrates?”

“Sorry.”

“You’ve really never believed in God?”

“I used to.  I used to go to Church.  But when I was twelve, I decided that God must be a dude sitting on a couch, watching us all on TV and just kinda laughing and drinking white Russians.  Like The Big Lebowski.”

“What the fuck, girl?”

“My friends were really awkward, and we got bullied a lot, and my parents were gonna get a divorce, and all this shit.  It was a strange time.  And then, when I was in high school, I decided that God must be a dominatrix.  Because everything about those four years was just painful.  And I felt like the faithful sub of the universe.  I was a dramatic kid, not gonna lie.”

“No shit…  I can’t believe we’ve never been over this topic.  You’re ridiculous.”

“Well, by the time I turned seventeen, I realized that the God thing was not for me.  So there you have it.”

“Want to make some whiskey-coffees and watch a movie or something?”

“Yes.”  I brew a pot of coffee with the last grounds that I have.  “What about tequila?  The only whiskey I have is the last of this Pappy Van Winkle that I’ll probably never get my hands on again.”

“Tequila is fine.”

“You know what, though?”

“What?”

“Let’s fucking do the Pappy.  Tomorrow is never certain.”

“You want to put Pappy Van Winkle in your coffee?  That’s sacrilege.”

“It’s healthy to act old money sometimes, in the height of your poverty, dude.  And like, what if every time we go to sleep, we wake up in a new body?  And life is just like a bunch of souls playing musical chairs in all the bodies?  I want to be the one to drink the Pappy.”

“Whatever you need to postulate, as long as I’m drinking Pappy Van Winkle in the morning with my best friend.”

“Exactly.”

It’s Hyperactive Bean Water; Shut up about It

The coffee is never strong
enough.  The first cup is proper,
though, with its milk ratio and all.  That
I can expect.  The second cup is diluted,
and I can expect that, being uncertain about using
more milk.  I boil the water
in a pot and then pour it into the French press.
Depending on your grace with it, bystanders may
think that’s a craft method.  It’s about as
craft as a bucket drum.  We make do.  Absolute
value of the beat or flavor is the final score, anyway.  My
friend said, “you need a kettle.”  I laughed, like
who am I, Neil Peart?  Coffee’s cold now, anyway.
Maybe just drink the damn thing and shut
up about it.  One thing’s for sure: the Louise
Gluck anthology is not a coaster.  Well
fuck me, am I supposed to get a table or
something?  Who am I, Martha Stewart?  Just a kid
trying to have some coffee.  The line between
expectation and entitlement is too delicate; most
of us haven’t done any worse than consider the words
more or better, anyway.  Really, really…just shut up
and drink it.