Styrofoam Coffee Novel Notes

Fog grips a convenience store in the middle of Oregon nowhere, a throwback store secretly housing the greatest rock and roll vinyl collection in the state. I sit outside at a tilted plastic table, waiting for my order of drip coffee, two bucks, in a Styrofoam cup. It’s dripping now, lovely Folgers falling into the cracked pot. I love the taste of coffee served in a Styrofoam cup in the foggy morning. It feels like I’m not in a big city.

Blackbirds mass on the power line. Swallows bullet through the fog. Crows caw in the fields. Big trucks are rolling into the parking lot full of men ready to stock up on cigarettes and energy drinks. Many of the men sport the hangover look. But it’s a Friday and they’ll pull through and pour the concrete and hang the sheetrock like the pros they are.

I built a driftwood sculpture at dawn. I wasn’t thinking about anything while building. I did see a harrier ripping apart a dead seal and some otter tracks. I also saw a power couple in yoga pants Instragramming the ocean and their dog chasing sandpipers. They drank coffee from gleaming space-age mugs, twirled them aloft, and Instagrammed that as well.

I’ve made a new friend. He lives in a 30-year-old Chevy conversion van with his goofy shelter mutt. He regaled me with one of the best modern Oregon stories in recent memory. It just sits there, waiting, dying to be told. I’m not the person to tell it, but I think I can find someone who will take on this remarkable project. It’s going to make a hungry reporter’s career, assuming hungry reporters still exist.

It will hit over a hundred degrees in the Valley. That temperature will burn up Styrofoam and fry Instragramming phones. It might hit 55 here and the fog might burn off. I hope not. Fog suits my mood.

People will be driving to the coast after work or non-work to beat the heat. They will check into motels and then turn on air conditioners instead of opening windows. They will complain about the fog, cold, and wind. They won’t visit the beach. They will hunker down in Starbucks or line up at Dutch Bros.

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