It’s wednesday, and it’s a little after 10am. I have a still-warm 25oz cup of black coffee from Cafe Ladro in Queen Anne sitting with me at my desk at home.
Earlier, when was hiking up Queen Anne hill back to my car, I caught a woman driving a large fire engine checking me out. I found this kind of reckless given the size of the truck and the steep grade of the hill; but I\’m sure those machines have excellent brakes. I mention this because the driver stared at me during a funny time. I had just worked myself out of a bad mood, and I was feeling stoic. If I hadn\’t worked myself out of the bad mood, I would have either not have noticed that I was being looked at (with respect/desire), or I would not have been looked at because my posture would have been poor (which people instinctively notice).
While I was waiting in line for coffee, I asked myself, “Who is a winner?“
I didn’t have an answer because I wasn’t sure what the game was. To me it sounds like an insipid question, likely asked (with quasi-ironic enthusiasm) by a mid-level manager of a call center giving a motivational speech to his sales team. But why was I asking myself the question? Because I felt like a loser, which happens often; and it has nothing to do with how well I am doing in the moment.
I learned something about this feeling. This feeling is a daemon, and it has a whim-and-will of its own, and he sneakily shows up when he finds a way in; there is no keeping him out. And this daemon told me: you’re a loser. And it’s true: there are many ways in which I am a loser, but that goes for everyone because we all (eventually) fail. Even the most perfect human will one day be a corpse, and the dead don’t win at anything.
When I told the daemon that we’re all losers in some regard, he changed his approach. But he didn’t leave me alone. He was upset. He needed to say something, so he stayed with me, voicelessly bothering me, interrupting my morning. So, I helped him out. After I got my coffee, I sat on a park bench and pulled out a pen and paper, and we wrote. We concluded that what he really wanted to ask me was more along the lines of, how can I be better adapted to my environment? That did the trick. That was the appropriate question. And the daemon was satisfied. The question—and perhaps the daemon too—still lingers, but it is not a painful question, and the daemon is now helpful. The question is a reminder that no matter how well or poor I am doing, I can improve my being.
As for the coffee, I’m satisfied. It’s not sour. And it follows in the Seattle/American tradition of being on the light side of dark. Also, it’s better than anything Cafe Vita roasts, which is better than Starbucks. Now, if only I could afford to drink coffee like this a little more regularly…