Inevitable Coffee Ring

A Step Out and Away

Christopher Malone

It starts with breathing.

It’s funny how this week’s and last week’s Tuesday post were going to have the same title. Some writers come up with the title of their post before they begin to write; may keep them on track, but this practice has the ability to set boundaries. I’m in the group that is filled with writers that write their title at the middle or end of the piece; the title slot is filled with a reminder. This teetering title, which is irrelevant, has been placed in the title bar and thrown out both times. Perhaps it will stick one day.

Life has no boundaries. The things that we do in life have boundaries. It can be safely repeated that life has no boundaries. We simply need to be present.

This originally was going to be a throwback post, a step back from the present to talk about growing up in Syracuse, but it seemed a bit subjective. It’s fun to write about. There is a personal desire to try and relate as best as one person can to an entire region of the state, which is nothing more than a speck on a global scale. If this blog of scribbling interests and captivates and inspires one person … I’ve done my job. Until there is curiosity about my growing up in the Syracuse suburbs, the writing about the past will be put on the back burner.

Bill Bryson — as much as I’d like to emulate his style and ability — is a better writer than I am. Please read his memoir, The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid (2006).


“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

– Ferris Bueller, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

This may be one of the most memorable and over-quoted lines, but it’s the absolute truth.

The Sunday night Facebook feed filed a share by a fellow Central New Yorker, who respectively makes up one half of one of my favorite couples in all of Syracuse. However, he posted this video about snapping out of the zone, the false sense of comfort that technology imposes upon all of us. We’re very dependent on our devices, and the kids are as well.

Play the video after. There is another favorite video of mine that is written and filmed in a similar fashion. Play this video about the attractiveness of girls who read, but a tangent about my type will be saved for a later date … if not written about at all.

There is a strong notion that you have clicked or will click on those videos after you’re done with this post. Even after watching the first video, little key taps and cursor scrolls enticed the tips of my fingers to continue browsing the internet or catch up with the few fake Scrabble games I’m in the middle of. Sure, it’s the curiosity that drives us to watch, but one thing can lead to another — one video leads to another — and soon you realize the first or second half (if not all) of your work day goes completely to hell.

There’s always tomorrow.

Not really. Don’t give into resistance, procrastination.

I do still strongly feel that France’s requirement to prohibit checking email, especially work email, after work hours is a good idea. I’m not a fan of email — as impersonal as it has become — and the European country’s prohibiting checking this only allows a person to live and enjoy their life outside of work. If something is an emergency, phone calls can be made; information can still be exchanged via email, but a heads-up should be given. Sure, a lot of occupations require emails, but if information is pertinent, it could be called in.

Emails, in my opinion, are becoming obsolete. They should be. Emails are sent when phone calls do not want to be made. It’s impersonal. The excuse of having to send more information is obvious; it’s true. However, there are other electronic methods of distributing information aside emails.


At one point, while coming back and forth from college, there was worry that the kids in my neighborhood were too preoccupied with gaming systems or some technology that kept them indoors. They never seemed to be outside, playing as much as my friends and I had. Granted we were older, and there was is some certainty the parents of other children didn’t want their kids being influenced by our actions. However, in reality, it was us who were chased by the older kids; they toted pee-filled Super Soakers and even handcuffed one of our wrists to another’s ankle.

We were your kids’ buffers.

The iPod first came out when I headed to college. It was a huge deal when my roommate was given the first XBox. Even upon graduating in 2005, our technology was very limited. At this point in time, kids — even those younger than the age of two — have the capability of fluently working with technology.


Yesterday, Monday, Cinco de Mayo, a friend of mine and I caught up and went for a walk on Onondaga Parkway. Heid’s glared at me from its distance, taunting and enticing me; despite the Mixed Double, fries, and Byrne Dairy chocolate milk consumed there on Friday was not good enough. Alexis brought smoothies from LoFo

Alexis is a fellow improviser at the Syracuse Improv Collective, who has her own personal development business, which includes life coaching, and she teaches yoga at various studios around Onondaga and Cayuga Counties. Through Facebook, she is promoting May as Mindful Month. The 31-day challenge is for everyone, and she posts daily morning prompts to get your day going. The strategies are to help you slow your life down and simply reflect on yourself, your surroundings.

It starts with breathing. Alexis tells you.

At SUNY Oneonta, one of the classes taken in my time there was based on Mysticism and Meditation; we learned more of the history of the former and did not meditate. However, after college and while working at Loretto Health and Rehab, I got into meditation classes through Elizabeth Williams. I slowed down, cutting back working hours (one full-time job and two part-time jobs) by one part-time job. However, I still worked seven days a week. I could feel less tense, and my writing flourished.

However, Alexis and I had a nice walk at Onondaga Lake Park. We talked about life, love, future, business, and other aspects that illustrate kids’ finding adult conversations boring. She did ask me if I was tempted to throw a stick in front of someone while they were rollerblading. I can’t deny saying that the temptation was there, but I knew better. Those scenes in Big Daddy (1999) never get old. We’re mature now, but we cannot help but acknowledge the kid in us.

The kid in us is still there. This acknowledgement helps us laugh.


The stroll was much-needed. The fresh air, the stepping away from a computer — it does one good.

Mysticism, meditation, and other spiritual practices are not just for Buddhists. All religions acknowledge enlightenment. Mindfullness, meditation, and other practices cannot be explained here; the post will be far too long. However, a person can feel much at ease canoeing on a lake, sitting in front of an ocean-side sunset, enjoying a morning coffee upon a porch while listing to birds, or while listening to the rev of an engine they are working on. Its as calming as rain hitting the roof of a tent or house. It’s about watching the lake effect snow — the process of the flakes falling to the ground. It’s the moment you find you settle into your pace while running. It’s the moment that a fever breaks.


Photo | Christopher Malone

It’s a calming lunch by yourself, eating at Heid’s … a Mixed Double washed down with a chocolate milk. Yes, I cannot stop thinking about it.

Some may experience enlightenment while listening to Tesla. I know. That’s like licking a dog and trying to get its hair off your tongue. However, that is another story for another time.

Not the dog, but Tesla.

Christopher MaloneChristopher Malone plays with more thoughts and words at his blog, The Infinite Abyss(es), and at Kinani Blue. He can also be found creating worlds and playing with invisible objects with the Syracuse Improv Collective.  Feel free to tweet at @Chris___Malone, or email him at [email protected].






The Inevitable Coffee Ring

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