Coffee – I just can’t quit you

At the height of my addiction I drank three saucer sized cups a day. I would languish over that morning cup. The smell of it before the first sip was tantamount to God breathing life into Adam, animating the inanimate. A cup before leaving for work then another once I got into the office, by 10am every cell was buzzing with caffeine. I crashed around lunch and hurried for my next fix around 3 internally berating myself for bowing to temptation.

This had been my routine for months. I refrained on weekends and noticed I would get debilitating headaches. Two months ago I decided to quit. I would not be conquered by a cup of crushed bean water. The first weeks were excruciating. I would walk past Starbucks looking in the windows with longing, like an ex-girlfriend driving by to catch a glimpse of an old flame. I was ostensibly a zombie, a slow moving caricature of a person, dead on the inside.

I was done with coffee for a solid month. Then a month of friends coming into town and itineraries run over with late night shenanigans, inevitably led me back to my coffee guzzling ways. Here I am buzzing away, waiting for the afternoon crash. Most days I can quell coffee’s siren song but I really thought I could stop and never look back. Turns out the sweet promise a cup of coffee holds is just too good to quit.

Damn you coffee.

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Take a Seat

My author crush, Wells Tower sat next to me today at a reading. I like to get to things early and sit at the front of the class. Front row seating at readings for some of the more obscure writers I enjoy, tend to remain vacant until right before a reading starts, which was the case for this evening.

In comes Mr. Tower strolling in casually looking for somewhere to sit. Two seats to my left are empty and he asks politely motioning toward the empty seats “Is anyone sitting here?” I could’ve been cool in this moment. I could have nodded my head and said “I don’t think so” acted casual like he was any old Joe off the street, but I have never been cool a day in my life. I knew exactly who he was (the future father of my uber-literate children) and motioned to the chair next to me presenting it like some prize and overeagerly saying “Oh, yes, yeah you can sit here, this seat isn’t taken” (because you don’t know it yet but I love you and sometimes I read your stories and I just weep because they are so good so really it’s fate that you’re sitting next to me because you will be mine Wells Tower you will be mine). He sits next to me and I feel like I’ve just won the Nobel Prize. My friend nudges me because she too knows how fortuitous this situation is. I want to nudge back but am afraid I might scare away my author friend on my left. I spent most of the evening holding my breathe and stiffly shifting in my seat.

His reading was of course wonderful. It brought me back to the quiet hours between the pages of his book Everything Ravaged Everything Burned practically drooling over those finely crafted sentences. I felt the same not wanting it to end feeling.

No, I didn’t talk to him. What do you say to someone who has made your heart stop by reading one of his short stories. “I’m such a big fan Mr. Tower” sounds so stupid and doesn’t even begin to describe the overwhelming gratitude I feel. I’m sure the fangirl way I internally fawn all over someone who can command words would just make everyone involved feel awkward and cringe. Don’t worry I didn’t do anything weird like lightly press my shoulder against his.

Here’s a sampling of some of his work:

Love in the Ruins – Outside Magazine

The Landlord – The New Yorker

My parallel universe

I was back in California for the first time since officially moving to New York. After being in New York for 8 months or so and feeling as if I was finally where I belonged it was strange to be back in California and seemingly resuming where I had left off. There is so much comfort in “knowing”…sitting at home watching the U.S. Open with my dad felt normal, going to the movies w/ my brother also normal, happy hour w/ the gang, playing with the god kids, lunch w/ co-workers, wedding festivities w/ the Cal Poly folks all of it felt normal because it was my life. It felt like I had two lives running parallel to one another, my life in New York was on pause. I realized that if I wanted to I could just pick up where I left off, like my life in New York never even existed.

The missing link for me in New York is community. I have a few friends here who I spend the majority of my free time with running around trying to snatch up all of the things the city has to offer. Being back in California made me realize how much I miss having groups of friends and routine. I miss Friday afternoon happy hours with the Nikkei crew, seeing my godson on random weeknight dinners w/ Krista & Jared, trying new things w/ Elaine, large birthday dinners w/ the SLO folks and hanging out with my family.

On the flip side though I realized on the plane ride back to New York why I had chosen this life. I have a job with a company that I love, that challenges and excites me. I get my fill of events with authors, musicians, thinkers that I admire and respect. The New York you see in movies and TV is my backyard, is my everyday. I moved here because I wasn’t ready to settle down, I wasn’t really ready for a routine. I wanted to seize back my life and make it what I wanted and not just let it happen to me.

I miss my family and friends in California a lot. It hurts a little when I think about all of the stuff I’m missing. I’m glad I’ll have these type of visits but it’s the New York life for me for the foreseeable future.