Dec 27, 2005


Do you hear that?

That's the sound of Carmen playing ever so faintly in the background. It's the part where the two are arguing about something. Something. I don't know what. Which is alright (for now).


My bills, the ones I am about to send off, on time (of course) are saturated with dried coffee. Again. This happens so often, I'm sure they (the scowling people at the bill-opening department of each of my bills) find me to be an ass.

I'm sure that they do.

You see, it's a delicate instrument, my coffee maker. It is moody. It requires special encouragement.

It is pesky, even a little bit bitchy. And it offers no excuse. Nor does it ever apologize.


She came to me second hand. My coffee maker. And she knows from where she came from. She knows the difference.

And I'm sure that she is outraged.

Her previous life was, all told, a better life. Spent in the comfort of her former, better, more beautiful kitchen. There, where she was always treated with consideration. There, where she was kept immaculately. All of the time. There, where she received regular vinegar baths. If not regular warm, mild-soapy soaks. And always with a towel placed lovingly between her and the cold, unforgiving, restaurant quality stainless steel sink.

There, in her previous home, where she was dried off with a shammy. Where she got days off. To rest. Sometimes a whole string of days.

There, where (while resting) she wore a lovely, hand-stitched Marimekko cover, made just for her. A cover meant to protect her from dust (as she is allergic).

There, where she had friends. Other coffee makers (for other purposes, and sometimes no other purpose - other than just because). Yes. All of them together. In the cabinet. In solidarity. There they would whisper and laugh late into the night. And never, ever did any of them get into trouble for this behavior.

There, where she slept inside such a quiet, cotton lined cabinet.

There, where she was appreciated and rarely used.

There where she had love.

There, where she had opera.

Whereas, here, the degree of coarseness of the coffee being used (as balanced with size and fineness of the filter, versus the amount, temperature if not type of the water used) might vary wildly from day to day.

Whereas, here, though it is always a good coffee that I use (always good), it isn't a blessed coffee.

It isn't a golden coffee. It isn't an antique or a magic coffee.

Nor is it ever necessarily a coffee that has been imbued with the merest essence of violets and black pepper.

No. Here, in this kitchen (and never in history was there a colder, gloomier, more foreboding kitchen) coffee is made, not because it's Sunday, NOT because it compliments the sweetness of any darling petit-fours that have somehow gotten themselves lost (in what, at first glance, was such a charming forest, but, quickly became something quite a bit less charming, as the sun set, and the temperature dropped) and found their way onto my doorstep (pathetic, all of them, with their little frosting faces now worse for the wear, all blinking at me, all pleading for mercy), no..

And, furthermore, not because it's nice to make coffee as any sort of makeshift ceremony. The kind that "brings people together". That is, whatever smiling, laughing people happen to be around (especially as, the people I know never smile).

No, the coffee that is made here, is not made to be any kind of special treat. For happy people. Whose hearts (as they wait for the coffee) are then filled with the warmest (food related) kind of expectancy. Whose faces then betray (what can only be called) a willing agony. The happiest of agonies. The agony of pretending that one is in agony. Ah. The waiting. The waiting for the coffee. It's a privilege. Because, in the end, it's all going to be ok (for them, for these people), because the coffee is coming. It is, it is..

So that, for a few moments, such people (who were, for the most part, already happy) are nearly ecstatic. Inspired, even. Encouraged by the aroma of the coffee. The promise of the coffee. Yes, their lives (what fun life is!) are seemingly (and quite neatly, too) contained in the very drama and suspense of this brief moment. Wow.

But it's just a reprieve, mind you. One to be enjoyed presently. Detachedly. That is, before they dash off to the museum. Or Hermes. Or the bank. Or wherever.


Coffee is made here, on the premisis (a utilitarian and wholly without charm space that I call home, but is, lets face it, actually a box, divided up neatly into six spaces, and outfitted with windows, so that one might look out at the few trees, whatever phase they may be in at that time, and wonder why one has not yet gotten themselves a camera - windows that give one the false sense that "one is not in jail", self imposed or otherwise, when one probably is in such a jail, and paying for the privilege, monthly, with one's very own, very, very special - coffee stained checks) because I need coffee. In order to function.

So, it is also without ceremony, that the coffee maker lets me know that this set up (the whole thing, the complete lack of a spiritual basis, the psychological ramifications of neglect, the long term physical abuse due to exposure to hard water deposits, if not to harsh chemicals in the dishwasher, etc) is substandard.

As, it might (at any time) vomit coffee all over my counter. Instead of into it's clean, well positioned carafe. It might. And when it does, it does so quietly. No alarm sounds.

[Note: the coffee itself never complains, and seems to bask in any kind of attention, even when it is being treated as a mess. The coffee never asked to be brewed. It just wants to be loved.]

It happened today. Quietly. Ten cups worth. Ten cups, because today I am both off of work and very tired.

I will say that certain things escaped becoming permanent artifacts of what was a better time, that (shining) moment before what happened with the coffee.

I remember that moment like it was just a few minutes ago. When, in fact, it was a little over an hour ago..

Also, I got a sewing machine for Christmas.

I love it.

I've named her Louise.

1 comment:

  1. Great post Victoria!
    Happy holidays...