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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Caffiene


The other day I was musing while on my way to work. I do that with a modicum of regularity. Muse that is. I go to work with a modicum of regularity as well.
What sparked the cerebral wheels turning was a notable lack of caffeine prior to leaving the house.

This is dangerous; not unlike setting sail with no personal flotation devices, or “life jackets” as they were once referred to as. I suppose the term “jacket” implied one could be discretionary about using them; solely dependent upon the weather. “Hey, Marv, do you want a life jacket?” “Naw.. it is 85 degrees today. I don't need a jacket.” Also, lacking the word “personal”, may have led people to view the devices as being communal. A sense of sharing would ensue, as everyone got to enjoy the jacket.
However, with no survivors of the wreck to corroborate the story; this is pure speculation.

But, I digress.
The situation which resulted in the lack of caffeine was brought upon by our having recently released Mr. Coffee from his contract. We replaced him with Wolfgang Puck. Who wouldn't? Do you want a retired baseball player or a world renowned chef brewing up your morning cup of joe? There is just one little wrinkle....Mr. Coffee was so much more amenable to being told to wake up early to brew the coffee. Wolfie (we are on a first name basis now) is not quite as receptive to this pre-dawn task.

Oh sure, he claims he will do this, that, and the other thing. Claims are one thing, doing is quite the other.

See, Joe.. I mean Mr. Coffee, had a face you could look at and trust immediately. Open, easy to discern his slightest moods, almost transparent. It was very easy to press this button, set the time, press another button and bid Mr. Coffee sweet dreams.
Not so with Wolfie. First of all, his countenance is very tight; pinched almost. With teeny tiny numerals, and teenier, tinier buttons to press. Toss in a manual which reads with the clarity of a Dead Sea Scroll, and the stage is set to stalk off to bed frustrated, annoyed, and fully knowing one must stumble down stairs to actually press the Start button in the morning.
It was just these circumstances which resulted in leaving home in an under caffeinated state. Did I neglect to add the fact that our replacement machine has an extremely lackadaisical attitude about reminding me to actually “set” the coffee maker? How utterly irresponsible! Joe, I mean Mr. Coffee would gently remind me as bedtime approached:” Jim... Hey, Jim! Don't forget to set me so I can do my job! Yeah.. that's it.. rinse that old gunky coffee out of the carafe! Woo Hoo! Away we go!”
Does this one remind me?

No. It simply glowers with it's pseudo-Euro-superiority as I stroll past on my way to bed. I have heard a slight, aloof chuckle as I head up the stairs. Here all along I was unjustly blaming the puppy. Come morning, it gives me a self-satisfied stare as I dejectedly grasp a cold carafe containing a quarter inch of yesterday's coffee.
Recently, however, my Lovely Bride found a product called “Irish Breakfast Tea” at one of our local stores. Being a good Irish descendant, I was elated; nearly to the point of tears! Genius!! Pure genius!! Thank you Mr. Put-Jameson's-in-a-tea-bag guy!! Oh happy, happy day!! Just as I was about to rip open the box to partake of the heady, mesmerizing aroma of good Irish whiskey... Lovely Bride informed me I was grossly mistaken.

It is black tea. In pillow case size tea-bags. With no tags.
I placed the box in the cabinet under the microwave with no fanfare; only a heavy heart.

Until....

One day I came down to find Wolfie did not contain a fresh pot of coffee, the carafe was devoid of any liquid what so ever. Glancing at the clock, I quickly deduced there was not sufficient time to clean out the pot, get fresh water, grounds, blah, blah, blah. I stuck my tongue out at Wolfie as I pondered what to do.
Then, like a flashing “Eat at Joe's” neon sign, the words “Irish Breakfast Tea” popped into my mind.
Somewhat skeptically, I took a bag, and immersed it in a cup of water. Ninety seconds later, I removed a hot, steamy cup of... well... I didn't know what to expect.
Tentatively taking a sip, I awoke immediately. Amazing how scalding hot water on your tongue will do that. Several minutes later, when the sensations of touch and taste returned to my tongue, I took another sip. Hey.... this stuff isn't bad! I felt my peepers becoming wider with each sip. This was a huge admission for an American to make. Of course, being Irish, it is much higher quality than the stuff from that island between Ireland and France.
And.. it was in this state I set off to the office. While Irish Breakfast Tea is great for getting one started and one's eyes awake enough to insert contact lenses; it doesn't have the long lasting punch of a cup of coffee.
There is just something about the acrid, oily, bitter liquid which exudes from a pile of ground, roasted beans. There is just something about the uniquely “wake up” aroma of freshly brewed coffee. Surely, coffee is more than just a means by which to get one's heart started. It is a ritual, a morning rite of passage for a new day.
I gotta figure this new contraption out, that is all there is to it.

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