I was never a coffee drinker until about 12 years ago. I thought it was, like soda pop, basically polluted water. Soda pop was acceptable, however, because, like most people, I have a sweet tooth.
Meanwhile, the Secretary of Health and Human Services at our house has always been a coffee drinker. One day about 10 years ago, I rose up out of my self-obsession just long enough to realize that it would be a nice thing if I made her coffee for her each morning. I am normally the first one up each day, and it only made sense.
Under her instruction, I learned that it doesn’t take Einstein to concoct the brew. Henceforward, making her coffee became part of my daily routine.
I did not make the coffee for myself because she drinks decaf, which I still consider to be polluted water. The only reason I can think of to drink coffee is for the jolt of caffeine to get going in the morning.
So it was that for the most part, I got my java from the office coffee pot, wherever I happened to be working.
This worked fairly well — five days a week, As the habit grew, however, I found that it was not enough. On the weekends, I found myself heading out to local coffee shops for my daily fix.
Then about a year ago, she bought me my own little coffee pot, which I use on the weekend. I began testing coffee from various sources. For whatever reason, I love the coffee served at St. Gabriel’s Hospital, which I have since learned is a special blend made by Reality Roasters.
Last Christmas, the secretary gave me a coffee grinder, which I think makes me a “connoisseur” of fine coffee, although I think “experimenter” would be a more accurate term. My coffee is about as freshly brewed as it can be.
Meanwhile, I continued to make the secretary’s coffee every day. Maybe once or twice a year, something happens to disrupt my routine, and I forget —- until she walks into the kitchen and notes the disruption in her own routine.
Now, I still drink from the office coffee pot, but on the weekends, I brew two pots, one for the secretary and one for myself.
The two pots are different, mine being smaller and that they require differently shaped filters. Mine is cone-shaped while hers look like oversized cupcake holders.
Her filters come in stacks, and sometimes it is difficult to separate just one from the stack. Occasionally they stick together. Not wanting to start all my days by trying to insert a fingernail between filters, I now grab a hunk of them and separate two or three weeks’ worth at a time, creating what I call my “ready” stack. I usually do it on the weekend, because it may take up to five minutes to separate the entire hunk.
Then came last Monday. I wasn’t headed to the Record office in the morning, so I decided to brew my own, even though it was a workday. I put my coffee on, and then went to brew the secretary’s.
I opened the cupboard and realized that I had forgotten that I had exhausted my ready stack on Sunday. I had to go through a separation, so I did.
As soon as I had one filter that I was sure was only one filter, I put it in the filter holder. Then I separated the remainder, put the ready stack away, poured water into the coffeemaker, and inserted the filter holder, turned it on, and made my breakfast.
It worked just fine — if your goal is a cup of hot water. If you want coffee and forget to add the grounds, it doesn’t go so well. The secretary took one look and said it looked a “little thin.” At least she was smiling as she stuck the needle in.
No points for altruism. No points for effort. Just a not so subtle reminder that she depends on me for something.
Tom West is the editor and general manager of the Record. Reach him at (320) 616-1932 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.