November 7, 2018
Durham, North Carolina
Basil, my little Maltese, and I usually sleep in until 9:30ish, have breakfast, go for a walk, throw around one of his 10,000 toys for a bit, and then I open up my computer and debate how long I’ll last working at home before I cave and head to one of three artisanal coffee shops within a seven-minute drive for a soy latte.
I lasted until 12:30. I tapped into my basic side and got a soy pumpkin spice latte and sat down. There was a cute boy working on his laptop just above the horizon of said latte. His feet were dancing to “Killer Queen,” which was playing overhead, so I knew he must be a good guy. I didn’t say anything to him, of course.
I recently moved from Seoul, where I rescued Basil, with its neon and bustling streets and subway and K-pop to The Triangle. Durham, Raleigh, and Chapel Hill. Everything here closes around eight. You have to drive everywhere. And there are specific signs telling you that no, you cannot bring your firearm into this frozen yogurt place.
I ordered a muffin, because that’s living dangerously right now. It’s not particularly good.
I checked Twitter in an effort to stave off the boredom. Instead of puppy gifs I was bombarded with the reality the world was still on fire. I clicked out of Twitter. Toto’s “Africa” started playing in the cafe and Attractive Cafe Man started dancing to it almost immediately. Definitely a good egg.
I couldn’t make myself care about the article I was supposed to be writing. So I closed my laptop and packed my things. The barista told her co-worker they’re running low on oat milk and it reminded me I really should give up soy. Tomorrow maybe.
I sat in my car for a solid fifteen minutes trying to decide what to do before my shift started at 3:45. I could walk around downtown. I could go back home. I should probably do dishes. I could go to another coffee shop. I turned on NPR in my car.
I gotta get out of here. Or at least pick up a hobby. I started to Google classes in the area. Quilting, embroidery, yoga, more yoga, hot yoga, meditation, yoga retreats… I put my phone down and pulled out of the parking lot. I had no idea where I was going.
Turns out, not very far. I drove across the street to the co-op and treated myself to subpar veggie sushi. It was beautiful and autumnal outside. I admired falling orange and maroon leaves as I stuffed sweet potato cucumber rolls into my mouth. My phone pinged and I saw my dog’s food order from Petsmart was on its way. I was running low.
Eventually I left to go to work, pulling into the parking garage downtown. Some country song was blasting as I wound my way down the steps onto the American Tobacco Campus. The old factory had been repurposed into offices, restaurants, and apartments. I took my time, walking along the man-made stream that cuts through the campus, taking photos of the metal grates and smokestack of the old factory against the bright blue sky. A friend from Korea sent me a message on Kakao Talk. There’s still no word on ticket dates for the musical I want to fly to Seoul for. I sighed and made a note to myself to re-order Basil’s flea and tick protection.
I walked into the creepy industrial elevator to head to my floor, clutching my phone close in case I got trapped. I hate elevators, but my knee is bothering me. The elevator jerked and I let out a squeak I’m sure my dog heard two miles away. Took the stairs the rest of the night.
On my dinner break I drove home to feed and walk Basil. He cried and jumped around upon seeing me, which he does every day. He was fed, exercised, and played with. I drove back.
I made some terrible coffee using the in-office coffee machine. It has those pouches that taste like dirt. I drowned it in almond milk and vanilla simple syrup, which I made at home last week simply because I was bored and curious if I could. The coffee was barely drinkable but it sufficed. I made it through the rest of my shift.
It was coming up on 1 a.m. when I finally got home. I saw Basil stretching by the door through the blinds. He must have seen my headlights through the window. He greeted me with the same frantic adoration as a few hours before, except now punctuated with a yawn.
I wandered over to the couch and flopped onto it. Basil was quick to jump on me and nestle himself onto my chest. He yawned again. I was home a touch later than usual and the luster of seeing me again must be starting to wear off as he realized how much he had enjoyed sleeping.
As I finished up some chats and emails on my phone, I heard the telltale huff of my dog that it was time for bed. I peered and was greeted with an “Are you serious?” scram face he’s ever given me. It’s hysterical. I snapped some pictures. But he won. I got up, turned off the lights, and flopped into bed. Basil scrambled up his stairs onto the bed and nestled himself in the crook of my arm with a final, satisfied, huff.