Thursday, August 16, 2007

Moments of Dark Roasted Desperation

CC arrives at work. After waking up late, she had no time to make coffee and a dishwasher running full speed filled with dirty travel mugs didn’t help. Nor did the sign on the work coffee machine that read “Coffee maker broken. Maintenance will be here by 4:30pm.”

JH makes himself a cup of coffee before work. He opens the refrigerator door to find the unthinkable has happened – his non-coffee-drinking wife has thrown away his one week old but still better late than never coffee creamer.

JK starts a month long stay in New Hampshire with very limited coffee choice. “Is it really good?” she asks looking for some hope or hint that the east coast dominant Dunkin Donuts knows their coffee in a way that will meet her mountain girl coffee needs.

MT stops at a Starbucks driving back from South Carolina to ask for a vanilla latte. A few miles later she realizes they have given her some never-mix-your-coffee-with-fruit citrus flavored latte instead. Forty miles down the road, she pulls into the next Starbucks and demands a new cup.

These, my friends, are moments of dark roasted desperation. True caffeinated cries for help that you have sent to me. And in exchange I have offered a shoulder to cry on, a sympathetic ear, a suggestion for how to make the best out what could be a very dry, caffeinated day.

Two weeks ago, Friday, I had my own moment of dark roasted desperation. I could have used your help.

It was Friday morning, I stood waiting in my house. 7:30 am, I was approaching almost too late to leave to be on time for work. And my car was gone. Apparently, Chris had taken it that morning to go for a run with Thomas.

Normally, taking the car is not a big deal. But not today. Any day but today. Because today was Coffee Friday.

Coffee Friday is my only hope. My only salvation in a week filled with barely excusable excuses for coffee to kick start my day. Every other day of the week I settle for a less than perfect form of perk in my travel mug just because - because I can't afford to buy coffee every day, because going to the coffee shop before work would be out of my way, because if you treat yourself to something so good every single day you feel it's not right.


So there I was, waiting on Coffee Friday with no car. First I started to worry. Then I started to pace. Next I began to consider that Coffee Friday may just run out of time. Then I considered going to work without coffee. Which made me almost cry. Then I paced some more. Then I stood in the foyer, opening and closing the garage door a hundred times. As if that would make the car magically appear. Next I got angry. Then I started to think of all the rage-filled things I would say when the car did return.

Tick tock.

After about 2 minutes of this (without coffee patience is pretty slim), I decided I might have to think of a Plan B. But it was Friday, and I was before coffee. Any plan that required thinking at this point might be filled with very costly and risky mistakes.

But as time ticked on, I realized Plan B, on Coffee Friday, was my only hope.

Plan B1 - take the van, Chris’ dream car, a car he waited years to purchase and then possess, filled with assorted bikes and bikes parts and other Chris things like sunglasses and bags. Too much responsibility. Too much risk. Chances are I would drive off with something critical to his day.

Plan B2 - take the sports car, Chris’ other dream car, a car he waited years to drive, a car you do not drive when the temperature falls below a certain point, a car you do not lean bikes up against. You know this car. The car you absolutely do not want the responsibility to drive unless you have no other choice by way of wheels. But the risk of no coffee on Coffee Friday weighed against the risk of driving (and possibly scratching, crashing, or breathing in) this car almost made it worth it.

Except for one thing - the sports car is just a shake machine in disguise. This sports car is simply a chassis (somewhere my father-in-law has just peed himself because I used the word chassis) covered in white paint with no meat on its bones so low to the ground that every pebble in the road feels like you are scaling a boulder. This makes every trip down every street feel like a shaky, scary experience akin to Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.

And as if the shake machine feature is not enough, I am still not sure how the car made it off the lot missing this critical feature. You see, it has no coffee cup holders.

A moment of silence please.

*No coffee cup holders*

For coffee fans everywhere, a small part of them has just died. The small part that says have hope for there is love for coffee to be found everywhere.

Except in my husband’s sports car.

One particular Coffee Friday, when the shake machine was first acquired, I didn’t know any better and fell for its decaffeinated trap. In a moment of desperation, I took the car, went to buy coffee, got back into the car and found no cup holder to hold the cup of the piping hot 16 ounces of very stainable fluid in my hand.

Now, if I was smart, I would have just left the coffee cup behind. But come on - an abandoned coffee cup on the curb. Is that any way to treat my friend coffee? Is there anything more lonely and hopeless than that?

So I did what any coffee lover would do, not wanting to hurt coffee’s feelings, I took the risk of holding the cup. Imagine having to hold the piping hot cup of possible dark roasted stain in the shake machine while also shifting stick. This is manual transmission acrobatics at their best, multitasking at its worst. The only way it could have gotten any worse is if I had started smoking a cigarette while also talking on my cell phone.

But I don’t smoke.

So back to this particular Coffee Friday. As I stood there scheming and dreaming of what possibly I would do to get to the coffee shop without a car – I started to realize that the fate of Coffee Friday was looking pretty dark……..dark roasted, 16 ounces with a touch of cinnamon and a hint of cream.

I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist that thought.

And so I was faced with the reality of just riding my bike, walking, or driving the shake machine, and - consequently - skipping coffee all together.

Not really a choice.

At that moment, though, hope arrived in the form of my car pulling into the driveway. Thomas and Chris got out of the car and just as they did a need-coffee-NOW rage-filled string of words got out of my mouth.

"I thought you had to get to work by 8 am?" Chris asked, in his defense.

Yes, I do, but I also have to get coffee before work by 8 am. Don’t you know? It’s Coffee Friday. And on this very important day – the only day of the week we look forward to, the only day of the week we want to get out of bed - we drive 20 minutes round trip out of our way to buy the smallest thing that brings me the largest amount of joy. Coffee.

With that, I snappily took the keys, peeled out of the driveway, and headed to the coffee shop. And wouldn’t you know they must have known I was coming, or knew about about Coffee Friday because they were prepared with Obsidian dark roast on the menu and noone waiting in line


16 ounces later, Coffee Friday was a success. Of course it got off to a bit of a shaky start, but not nearly as shaky if I had driven to the coffee shop in the shake machine.

In the life of a coffee lover, these moments of dark roasted desperation are never too few and always less than far between. But fear not, my highly caffeinated friends, trust that as you find yourself cussing at your wife about the creamer, writing to friends hundreds of miles away with you coffee-flavored cry for help, or sitting behind your desk each day baffled by those around you that just drink tea, you are not alone.

There are others just like you that have felt the impending headache, the caged frustration, the unbridled craving for your daily morning grind. And since tomorrow is Friday, let us drive out of our way, raise our overpriced cups to Coffee Friday, enjoy a moment of united caffeination, and a perky, proper start to the day.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Repeat after me - "Hi - my name is Elizabeth and I have a problem..."

-RB

jessie said...

Oh yeah! here's to coffee Friday!

I never realized just how fortunate I am to work in a downtown area with my pick of a dozen or so coffee shops within a 1/2 mile radius.

Although, this fortune is also a curse, because, like you, I attempt to limit my visits and bring from home most of the time. Let's just say the temptation is something awful come 2:00 PM every day, especially with a little stored value card to the closest shop in my wallet. Right here. Under my desk. Hmmm...maybe time for a break now.

Life certainly looks better after a dark roast.

KayVee said...

My own coffee moment: driving from Fredericksburg, VA almost to Baltimore, MD in search of hot, just black, please, coffee after Hurricane Isabel.