Thursday, November 7, 2013

November 6th, Day 6

Hello everyone, it feels good to be at the helm again. Here's what happened on Day 6; these are primarily excerpts from my written notes:

I'm sitting outside on a bench, my headlamp one more light among the streetlamps and offices. My gear is around me, my food on the table before me, and no doubt to the parents of the kids in karate class nearby I'm a vagabond of some kind, if a particularly well-equipped, cleaner-than-most vagabond. Actually, I doubt I am much in their thoughts, dismissed in favor of other considerations. Not because they are callous or indifferent to others, but probably they are tired parents immersed in all the concerns of the week and the demands of their tyrant children. They don't want to be here at the gym at 6 p.m. right after work. They want dinner, their kids to be in bed, to be in their own beds so tomorrow they can be more alert and less grouchy. So I am not much bothered that I am an invisible stone in the rushing water of their lives. I'm content to observe their kids swirl about their waists with dazed expressions as their parents drag them through the end of today. It is good that there are karate classes and parents who give their kids things to do. I imagine there are always exquisite moments that pierce the bleary haze of exhaustion when the parents, on the sideline with the other parents, glimpse their child's increasing coordination or catch sight of a budding, bumbling personality and feel love. And maybe they don't even notice it consciously, tired as they are. It may be that it's an unseen current that rises to the surface of their awareness, then submerges again to run in their quiet, working hearts.

The reason I'm sitting here at all is because I'm camping at the church across the street and there is a bible study happening. It would never do to unnerve the few old bats in attendance. I sound annoyed, but really I'm glad I have a place to sleep. It can be nerve wracking scouting out a place to sleep.

Earlier today, I met a man named Matt who works at JoeBella Coffee: Roastery & Cafe. Matt is a quiet, 30-something apprentice and, by my impression of him, he seems to be in love with coffee and all its intricacies. When I first stepped up to the counter to order, I was expecting to say "Cup of house coffee, please" and get plain coffee after money exchanged hands. But oh no, how nutty or citrusy or etc. do I like my coffee? I was a bit flabbergasted because I'd never given it much thought. After I hastily ordered something to cover my surprise, my curiosity began to percolate (sorry) and my questions fed right into Matt's excitement about coffee. Here's a brief overview of what I learned; I don't cover close to everything. What most intrigued me was how many possible permutations of flavor exist in a single burlap sack of beans. Matt claims that upwards of 1500 distinct flavors can be drawn out from a product; part of the game, the art, is to experiment with different harvesting times, methods of drying/washing, and ways of brewing the coffee to try and exacerbate certain flavors, thereby bringing them to a level that's discernible. A master of taste can recognize 20 or 30, while the average coffee drinker with an average palette (read: awful palette) can detect 3 or 4.

(Matt from JoeBella, feel free to write something up/clarify whatever I say and I'll post it)

Quick shoutout to Zan Overturf from The Tree Man, a small nursery I passed by, for refilling my water with Gatorade and our lovely conversation about changing animal behaviors in response to human impact!

Videos of the Day:
Debriefing in Atascadero

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