Coffee & Whiskey

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“Give coffee to change the things I change… and whiskey to accept the things I cannot.”
I saw this quote while surfing briefly on Pinterest and thought it was funny – and quite true.  Although I don’t condone turning to liquor as a way to handle your problems, I choose to interpret this silly meme with light humor.  I do like my whiskey, but I am a huge craft beer fan.  As a cook and an artist, I think craft beer is just another form of culinary art – and perhaps one of the most finicky.  Whiskey, too, is that way.  So there is no wonder than my two favorite places to be are in a fair trade coffee shop or a quirky microbrewery, one generally for work and the other for entertainment.
So, yes, I’ll take that coffee or tea as my moment of indulgence without interrupting a stream of constant work.  It keeps me alert and relaxes me at the same time.  It can be my motivation to get up and get going, and it can be as subtly a form of art at the hands of a barista as brewing alcohol is to the brewer.  Of course, when I’m not working hard at something or meeting up with people to plan, develop, and execute new ideas, I’m likely going with a group of friends or even venturing into a new city on my own and meeting all kinds of people at some kind of microbrew joint.  In a way, it is me accepting things I don’t want to accept, like unwinding after a long week that maybe didn’t go as well as I had hoped.  But instead of moping around, I make a treat out of my time spent experiencing new places and talking with new people.  It’s my way of realizing that there’s more to life than whatever’s been on my mind while simultaneously indulging with like-troubled people over a great glass of whatever the house recommends.
This week, take a moment to enjoy your coffee while you work, and don’t be afraid to brave a new bar seat, different conversation, and perhaps a drink you hadn’t been willing to try quite yet.

The Sacred Coffee Pot

Every office has one (except, maybe, Twinings): the sacred coffee pot.  This communal appliance hosts the gathering of co-workers like herds to a waterhole.  Whether it’s an 8am wake up, a 3pm pick-up, or any point inbetween, it is the universal donor of lifeblood to nearly everyone in the office.  So why is it always empty when I fill up?

I have come to the conclusion that, as soon as I make a pot, some coffee predator lurking in the bushes pounces on it as soon as it’s done.  This animal takes an enormous share, then sets the distributor on its shelf where it is quickly devoured by less aggressive creatures who witnessed the predator make its first move.  Like a million annoying sparrows dipping into a birdbath, these animals draw coffee until they’ve sucked it dry.  It is this wasteland that I find myself upon when I return for my hard-earned cup.  I angrily begin a new pot and find myself thrown into this routine, vicious cycle.

What is so hard about making a pot of coffee?  As we would say at the dining hall in school, “You kill it, you fill it.”  The person who scooped the last of the mashed potatoes was required to take it back to the kitchen for more.  Often, this meant no one would take the last hit.  But, no, not in an office… in an office, it’s every man for himself.  To me, it just seems morally wrong to tap out a pot and not make more.  I replay the thought in my head and can’t understand who could bear doing it: You go for a cup, pump the top, get what you can before an embarrassingly loud sucking-drops-through-a-straw sound emanates through the breakroom.  Then, despite this sound (which clearly indicates empty unless you’re a dimwit), you boldly walk away, declaring to the world that either A) I don’t care that it’s empty and you can fill it yourself or B) I am a dimwit.

Tell me this, office people: What is the rush?  Do you not have thirty seconds to refill the grounds and click “brew”?  Do you need so desperately to hurry back into your cool little offices where you can check your e-mail for the hundredth time today and dillydally on some project?  I might not be on salary as a student intern, but I certainly have my work cut out for me.  In fact, the research I do keeps the work on your desk.  That might sound unimpressive, but without that work on your desk, you wouldn’t have a job.  So thanks for taking minutes out of my day to refill every pot of coffee you drain.  Thanks for lounging in your airconditioned offices while I sit under the blistering heat of the skylight in public space next to the noisy breakroom, listening to the sound of you tapping every last pot I make.

Okay, the skylight is actually quite nice and they’ve installed doors now so the breakroom isn’t so noisy.  But that’s not my point.  My point is, rather, that something so sacred should be treated better!  Use some consideration!  And, if you’re a dimwit,… get a less demanding job!