It seems simple enough–coffee. But I feel like I have to write about this even if it seems completely obvious because the last thing I want to do is to take the basis of this project for granted.
The National has this song called Conversation 16 and it’s a line from that song that I have tattooed on the inside of my right arm: Live on coffee and flowers. The entire line goes “live on coffee and flowers, try not to wonder what the weather will be” and I felt like it was apt because I spend most of my life worrying. I’ve been told (many times) that this is ridiculous but worrying does have a lot of benefits: you’re hardly ever unprepared for anything. For instance, I’ve never been stranded in Taft due to bad weather because I always check the forecast the night before.
But this worry can be crippling (to the point of analysis-paralysis) which is why I decided to a) get it tattooed and b) do this thang.
Alright. Anyway, I’ve been down in the dumps the past few days–things have just been a little bit terrible (although peppered with kindness and laughter): stuff’s been weird at home, I’ve been sick and a skeleton (or bogart, more like) has re-emerged from the depths of my closet.
Truman Capote was able to define these types of days much better than I will ever be able to, so let me borrow from him–
In the movie (and the book) Breakfast At Tiffany’s, the following conversation takes place between the two main characters:
Holly: You know those days when you get the mean reds?
Paul: You mean like the blues?
Holly: No. The blues are because you’re getting fat and maybe it’s been raining too long, you’re just sad that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid and you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?
That’s how I’d been feeling for the past week: like the world was going to come apart and all the bad things I could dream up were going to happen either to me or (worse) the people I love. Ay, terrible. Feeling that way always seems reminiscent of dreams (or nightmares) where it’s hard to tell past from present or what’s real from what you’ve conjured. It’s like being intoxicated with paranoia.
And I find that what one really needs in those situations is a good dose of coffee–both literally and figuratively. Coffee to wake you up and tell you you are here. I had a good dose of this last night, from a lot of people: some very close friends and others, unexpected charmers whose perspectives were very refreshing. Whoever insists that the internet is useless or is a means of ruining interaction can suck my appendages (particularly, the one I don’t have): this damn thing can save lives, if you let it.
John Lennon has this song called God which I think perfectly reflects my religious views. I am not a particularly religious person because I know that there is no such thing as deus ex machina in real life; there won’t always be someone or something to save you when you need it–and I refuse to believe that the end goal of life is to be saved. But I do believe that people have the power to make things better, from the inside out: you have to master yourself to be able to make things happen. And so I take a lot of that responsibility upon myself: God is a concept by which we measure our pain, I don’t believe in magic, I don’t believe in I-ching, I don’t believe in Bible, I don’t believe in tarot, I don’t believe in Hitler, I don’t believe in Jesus, I don’t believe in Kennedy, I don’t believe in Buddha, I don’t believe in mantra, I don’t believe in Gita, I don’t believe in Yoga, I don’t believe in kings, I don’t believe in Elvis, I don’t believe in Zimmerman, I don’t believe in Beatles, I just believe in me.
But maybe I contradict myself (don’t all things we do do this?) as well because you can’t pull yourself out of the mean reds, all the time: sometimes people have to do it for you, people have to help you out of it. And talking to people last night (albeit over the internet–again, I will argue for the power of the chatbox) really helped me do that. I think it may have manifested itself physically, too because I woke up today and felt significantly less sick than I did yesterday. 🙂 So thank you to all of you who helped me out: on the off-chance you’re reading this. 😉
Today I’m working on new stories (we may be coming out with EM Zine Issue 4 soon!) and am drinking really good, strong coffee at this swanky new hotel thang in Alabang. Don’t get me wrong–I’m not crazy; my sister has a meeting here so I tagged along. The coffee prices aren’t bad either.