My enjoyment of coffee has exploded into a complete and infinitely nuanced addiction. I plan my morning around its acquisition. I need at least one cup a day to keep going, and often need two or three. Just as I was writing this Rich wandered into the office with a giant cup of coffee and offered me half. It crossed my mind, momentarily, to decline, but as he held the half full cup of that warm, earthy drink that makes me imagine sipping the color of sun on fall leaves I found myself energetically offering my open hand and gulping it down.
It is my second cup of coffee today, and my second free one. This morning the man in front of me, with graying flyaway hair in a red plaid jacket, stuck his thumb back at me and added my coffee to his tab. I felt stupid and blinked at him silently. Who is so kind so early? Why did it mean so much to me? I choked out a Thank You, and hoped it expressed how I felt.
I have always been the sort of person who falls in and out of those brief, obsessive love affairs with my assumptions about someone. Usually it is not with people I see on the street. I base very little on appearances alone. I will acknowledge that someone is lovely. I can look at them and think, yes, that person is, in fact, the most beautiful person I have seen walking down a street. But it’s only an impression. It passes in the same way as my thoughts on a particularly bright fall tree.
No, my inappropriate attachments come from brief encounters, short conversations, a hello, the way he inclines his head on the ‘o,’ or his smile at the passing squirrel. Smiles get me more than anything. What follows is a short, lucid affair in my head. I spend time in the place where I saw him. If I encounter him again I act as if nothing at all has changed between us. In public, we pretend we are strangers.
I like to doodle. Sometimes I post it here.
I never drank before graduate school. Well, not never. I drank occasionally. I still dislike the taste of alcohol and can only stand it when it is hidden beneath a great deal of sugar and synthetic flavor. I still don’t enjoy drinking, but it seems to make people nervous if someone is at a bar or party and not consuming alcohol. There’s a certain social breach about it. No one is sure why they feel uncomfortable, or if they should, which only adds to the discomfort. For the sake of easing this, and attempting to socialize so as not to lose my mind (and also to temporarily alleviate number the fifth) I have decided that I will simply, for the time being, become dramatically more susceptible to peer pressure than usual.
5) Debilitating Self Doubt
This seems to be a common element of higher education. It happens anytime you stuff a large number of enormously intelligent, talented people in a box. Self confidence and excellent personal images were never traits writers were overburdened with in the first place. Every-other day I find myself looking at the people I am with, or, worse, the PHD candidates that occasionally wander into our ranks, and wonder how the hell I thought I had any business being there. Name dropping being the national sport of our tiny, well read principality, anyone wandering into our midst would be immediately inundated with knowledge. The office constantly buzzes with obscure knowledge, like a perpetual arcane incantation. More often than not, I have no idea who is being mentioned, or if I do, I have the lightest recollection of who they are.
Only in my workshop do I feel a sense of achievement. In writing and interpreting I feel myself grow in every class period. Still a short interaction with a second year or a PHD candidate can immediate reintroduce my humility. Yesterday, while looking at Facebook, I realized with a flash of pride that I have a college degree. I own one. I earned one. I have a perpetual symbol of my accomplishments. I am constantly educated in intellectual euphoria and modesty.