Weekend Coffee Share: Wallpaper For The Soul

It’s an unseasonably warm day, even for Los Angeles, when you decide to come out and have coffee with him.  You walk through the gate, and up the path to the front porch of their little rented bungalow.  He opens the door with a smile that doesn’t quite reach his eyes at first, but upon seeing it’s you, he seems to glow at the sight.

“Come on in, watch out for the toys…” he motions you through a small minefield of toys, dirty clothes and DVD cases.  It’s not dirty, just cluttered as hell.  “I’ve been trying to tidy up, but the toddler keeps pulling stuff down.  Here, have a seat.”

He directs you to the small round table that dominates the section of the room.  One half of it has been cleared off, a couple of cups of coffee sit  in the open space waiting.  Also waiting, a couple of spoons, sugar, milk, napkins and a bottle of whiskey.

You doctor on your coffee as you will, take a sip and enjoy the warmth of the mug, the liquid, and the sun streaming through the window.

He smirks, adds some sugar (a five count) and a shot of whiskey to his cup (a four count).  He leans back, takes a sip, takes off his glasses and rubs the bridge of his nose.


“Thanks for coming over; I’m not getting out as much as I used to do.  Between money, the kids, and just feeling–”  He flicks up a couple of fingers to flash air quotes. “–old and ornery. You know I turn 42 this year?  I’ve hit the year of Douglas Adams, as it were.  You know what I mean?  42:  The answer.  To The question?  The meaning of Life, The Universe and Everything:  42.

“Hard to imagine that just 10 short years ago, I used to go out four or five nights a week, stay out until 3:30am and get up for work, crisp and happy and hungover in my office chair by 8am.  These days, I’m still staying up late, but man, midnight seems so late.  I’m falling asleep in my dinner.  It’s dumb.

“I guess there’s been a bunch on my brain these days.  Work (or lack thereof).  Money (or lack thereof).  I’m in between gigs at the moment, and it’s kind of a royal pain for pretty obvious reasons, largely because where I am in my career, it means stagnation.  And the money…”  He takes a long sip of his coffee.

Deb and I got our taxes done last week…and shit, we got boned.  Our accountant–who’s one of my best friends’ dad–he does our taxes every year on Superbowl Sunday; it’s usually oddly a fun time–managed to save us a few dollars (Yay childcare deductions), but it’s still painful.  My wife, bless her heart, figured out how to juggle it in my blind, unemployed-panic.  Death and Taxes, right?”

He leans towards you, leaning on an elbow.  “How’d you make out with the tax man?  You get yours done yet?”

He puts his glasses back on, and listens to you intently, occasionally breaking into a smile over sips of his spiked coffee.

“Want another?”  He stands, grabs your cup, and heads to the kitchen to refill both your cups, coming back.  He sets the cup in front of you, and then proceeds to spike his drink again.

“You have any hobbies?  I used to have a bunch.  Well, I used to *practice* a bunch of hobbies–I was really into painting Privateer Press miniatures–monsters, knights, wizards and stuff.  Miniature wargaming.  It was a nice, Zen style release of creativity.  Paint, plan, work out strategies for playing with friends.  I haven’t done it since we moved into this place.   I’ve missed it–a lot lately.   I guess that’s why I’ve been digging into prop-building and beginner’s cosplay projects.   Good long term things to occupy my days between gigs, and caring for my kids.

“Hobbies, you know?  Clubbing, gaming, crafting, DIY stuff.  Comic book collecting, juggling, photography.  They let you zone in, zone out, and clear your mind.  Mental sorbet.  Whiskey in your coffee.  Covers up the scratches with a smooth decoration.  And the act of decoration is half of the cover up.”

He takes a deep breath, smiles, sips from his drink and then turns to you.

“Enough yapping from me.  What’s happening with you?  Seen any good TV lately?”

22 thoughts on “Weekend Coffee Share: Wallpaper For The Soul

  1. Deborah the Closet Monster

    I love, love, love it when you post. Reading your words reminds me happily of more’n a decade ago. Soon enough, each of us will find our ways back to our hobbies and outlets. This morning, that feels truer than in many, many moons.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I’m turning 32 in just a few days, and I couldn’t keep up with me a decade ago. Ahhh, to be twenty-something! But then again, there was a lot of tumult to my 20s. Not that everything is settled now, but much more-so than before. A child has a remarkable way of settling some things while creating about a thousand other tumults. Tiny tornadoes, they are. Lovable, tiny tornadoes.

    You’ve just reminded me that there’s Baileys’ in my kitchen, so I’m off to doctor my own coffee. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. 1st: Happy Birthday! 2nd, my early 20s self couldn’t keep up with me of my late 20s/early 30s. I’m impressed by folks who have kids earlier–you’re brave and talented souls! 3rd: Yes tiny tornados indeed! With two in tow, it’s like we have a tornado inland and a hurricane blowing just off shore ALL THE TIME! I’m told it gets better, so I’m holding out for that! 4th: Bailey’s and coffee: excellence!!! Cheers and thanks for letting me share coffee!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. First, thank you! 🙂

        Second–I got most of my drinking and partying out of the way when I went to college. My late teens/early 20s were *full* of late nights and no sleep before class, but by the time I hit 25 I was working on a master’s degree and having a baby. I’m glad to have gotten all the other stuff out of the way early. Definitely tiny tornado! One is enough of a tornado. lol

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Love the use of the “invisible I” point of view in your post. My kids are almost done growing up and are slowly growing away. I miss, in a perverse way, the toddler years. You will, too. One day. Meantime, keep the Bailey’s handy and keep posting! It’s a hobby, after all.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Unseasonably warm? I’m there! Well below zero this morning…. As for taxes, we always get an extension to file late – it makes it a little less painful.

    Like the storytelling format. Always fun to have a twist on the coffee posts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s February. It’s still supposed to be cold. We’ve been moving to shorts here. It’s like it’s spring, and it’s just *weird*.

      I went to school in New England, so it’s supposed to be cold and wet and dark and cold in February. There shouldn’t be anything blooming in the backyard right now. Even in Southern California.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great twist on the coffee format. A friend of mine recently said that becoming a parent has been the best thing and the hardest thing that’s ever happened to him.
    My son started high school recently and I was warned that teens don’t have parents anymore. Yet, I was unprepared for the complete absence of parents there and have felt quite awkward in there. It’s that same awkward sense of being out of place like walking into the wrong gender toilet. I also noticed that the parents have also moved on. It’s going to take a bit of getting used to. xx Rowena

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks!

      Indeed, parenthood has been horrible and wonderful, magical, and maniacal. I’ve loved every minute, including the really crazy parts.

      Man, I still have a while before high school…don’t I? Yoiks!!!

      I guess by the point of high school, you can trust your kid to make some of their own decisions to the point you can just wind them up and go.

      High school. I’m old.


Got 2 cents?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s