Thursday, April 30, 2009


No declaration necessary, but I'm cuckoo for coffee. LOVE it. NEED it. I get headaches without it, and even if I didn't, I'd still drink it like a junkie uses heroin. Except I actually like the taste of coffee. Well I guess I have no idea what heroin tastes like, so I really don't know what I'm talking about.

The usual morning coffee routine consists of:
- setting up the coffee machine the night before, with grounds and water to brew at precisely 5 minutes before I step out of the shower
- grabbing a mug, putting sugar in, pouring coffee, adding milk
- downing the concoction, repeating until gone

I've been running that same program for years now. Except now that the morning routine includes getting the boy Judah out of bed, fed, dressed, and off to preschool, the coffee intake had to be adjusted. Two cups at home plus the one or two when I landed at the office wasn't jiving with my desire not to bug out too hard at work. So I limited the home coffee drinking to one cup, then one cup when I got to the office.

At my current gig, the worker bees are much more numerous than anywhere else I've worked. And the worker bees like to congregate in the kitchen. Navigating to the coffee is a little like getting into a subway car in The Big Apple during rush hour. There's a lot of "excuse me", "pardon me", and "comin through" goin on. Not so much that the workers want to get to the coffee, but to get to the juice bar, the refrigerator, and the sink. It's a gauntlet to run. I'm tempted to permanently relocate the coffee machine to an edge of the kitchen, but I can't imagine they'd appreciate that much coming from a freelancer. Plus the coffee rig is tethered to its spot by the water line.

And it seems like every time I manage to wrangle my way to the coffee, the carafe is empty. The carafes are metal, and heavy (heavy metal), so it feels like there's java in there at all times. But once your coffee pouring tilt gets beyond 90 degrees, you know you're shit outta luck. The coffee isn't difficult to make: You just grab a filter, open a metered packet out of the Starbucks pile and press the BREW button. I've done it enough in the past three weeks to know that it takes exactly five minutes to finish brewing, so I always set a timer to ensure that the rabid coffee drinkers don't empty out the pot before I get mine.

That's what I did this morning after I arrived at the office and discovered (the hard way) that I needed to make a fresh pot. I danced the coffee-making dance, sauntered back to my little edit bay and set the 5 minute timer. 5 minutes later, I walk out of my room and head for the kitchen.

As I approach the kitchen area, a business-suit wearing lady hurries past me and makes a beeline for the coffee. She grabs a cup and the carafe, and then her friend walks up and starts chatting her up. My caffeine addiction advised me to knock the carafe out of her hand and get what is rightfully mine, but my better judgment prevailed and I waited patiently.

She started to pour and the tilt was reaching 90 degrees. Coffee finally started pouring, but only reached about 1/4 mug capacity when the coffee ran out. What the hell happened to my coffee?!?!?!! Business suit lady continued chatting to her friend as she opened up the carafe and dumped into the sink what probably would have taken the edge off of my caffeine jones.

She chatted to her friend in what felt like slow-motion as she started the process of making the next pot, fumbling the packet, incapable of separating one filter from the rest. I envisioned knocking her out of the way to get the process going faster, but again, I can't imagine they'd appreciate that much coming from a freelancer.

I went back to my little edit bay and set the 5 minute timer. 5 minutes later, I'm drinking a cup that I thought should have tasted amazing, but instead it tasted like crap. Go figure.