A storm came and cooled things down so much that I had to run back inside to fetch a thin jacket. Less people walked the streets. Less smiles, more downcast faces, but I felt happier now. This cold air, groggy weather. It made me wish for autumn. It made me even long to be in school again. If I could just start things over, as a freshman, coming in this fall semester, wouldn't everything be perfect?
After walking for about five minutes, unable to get that thought out of my head, I decide to head to the Spoon. It's a nice day for some black coffee.
-- Hey, well look who's here early today.
-- Morning, Rita.
-- Well is it a special day or what?
-- Nah. It's not a big deal. I just happened to be around, and this weather. It just made me think of fall again. And you know how much I love fall.
-- Oh I know. I just love the fall, too. I don't even know why. New beginnings right?
-- Just one more example of how our education system brainwashed us.
Rita laughs and fills my mug before getting back to work. I take gulps of coffee while reading a book. Some young white guy selling his soul to the devil. The lamest type of story around, but I picked it out because the author happened to be local.
The protagonist is some loser English major who really wants to be the next great American novelist. And so he promises to do a favor for some mysterious man who one night had stopped him from committing suicide. The story doesn't explain how exactly this mysterious man can transform some random barista who takes himself too seriously into the next DFW, but something about the story resonates with me.
Not the fact that the protagonist is an aspiring writer. It actually disgusts me how many protagonists are writers. Writers writing about writers wanting to be writers. It's the human centipede of creativity. Yuck.
What I can relate to is this feeling of hopelessness. This idea that I am a nobody. And I love that this protagonist is experiencing this in a setting I'm familiar with. Though it's fiction, this writer undoubtedly just ripped off his regular life and turned it into this shitty novel.
Once I realize that I'm no longer reading and just thinking, I put the book down and stare out the window. Rita fills my cup again, and I take sips off this refill instead of gulps.
Grey skies really does make the world more beautiful. Sunny days feel like I'm in a pop music video. Grey skies makes me feel the way Radiohead used to make me feel in high school. I grab the business card Mr. Ball gave me, turn it around and glide my finger across it.
I've been actually obsessed with this business card. Don't ask me why. But I don't think I've had this attachment to the physicality of a thing since I was a small child. Back before I got my first Gameboy Color, I had seen someone play it on the bus. All I could think was, oh my god. I need this. I want that piece of plastic with buttons on it. And that plus shaped button that lets you move around. drool.
Back then, I didn't even care about the games. I just wanted to be able to have a piece of plastic called Gameboy Color: in my bag, by my bedside, while sitting at the dinner table. I begged that guy who sat next to me on the bus to let me hold it for just one minute and he let me at first because he thought I was actually going to play, but then when I didn't know what to do -- it was hockey game -- he took the Gameboy back while saying you suck! and never let me hold it again.
Since then, I've probably only desired things for non physical reasons. Like, the iPod was a beautiful mp3 player sure, but I didn't want it for it's beauty. I wanted it so I could fit in with the cool crowd, and also because itunes was so much better than whatever the hell else I'd been using, I don't even remember anymore.
And now, I don't care about beer or coffee for their taste or feel. Sure I want to choose the taste and feel, but at the end of the day I'm drinking these to get fucked up or feel better. I don't know. Everything in life has been about me. About how it feels to me.
I look at the card again. Such a unique color. Not white. Not Manilla. Somewhere in between. I glide my finger across it over and over again. Not smooth, but not rough.
I lay a five dollar bill on top of the table and head out of the diner.
-- Nothing to eat this time?
-- I'll be back later!
-- Alright, hun!