Shock

April 4, 2012

I love coffee. I'm not a coffee snub, so I'll drink almost any cup of coffee, even that bland office coffee we all put up with. But although I take what I can get, I think I can tell a good cup apart from a mediocre one. And at home, even though we have a coffee machine, I always reach for the french press because I'm pretty sure it tastes better from there. That, and it's a thousand times easier to clean up after.

I moved to another country at some point, and that doesn't stop my coffee addiction, of course, but I'm too busy to go out and get something to make it with, so I use this ghetto contraption that uses the thing you use to make tea with, and it works, although at the same time it ruins the tea making thing itself because of the way coffee stains things, which isn't such a big deal because we never used the thing anyway. So I'm using this thing and the coffee comes out way too light and it takes way too long to make, and by way too long I mean probably only five minutes or so of me having to stand there pouring hot water in slowly so it isn't so bad, but still, every day it was a it's morning, I need my coffee, I'll drink this kind of deal.

This goes on for an entire year. At one point I got a coffee machine but like I said, I don't like those, so I eventually went back to the tea strainer. That and the coffee maker seemed to always burn the thing. So it was a year of waking up every morning and drinking borderline unacceptable coffee. I'm almost certain, for this entire year, every time I put that pre-ground coffee in the tea strainer, I'd subconsciously get a longing for my french press back home. How easy it was. How nice it made the kitchen smell. How satisfying it was to push that knob down, knowing my cup of coffee was imminent.

Now, why didn't I just go out and buy one? You can get a pretty good one for like twenty bucks. I don't know. It's like why I don't go to the gym every day, or why I can't bother to reach for the floss when I'm standing at the sink. I came close a couple times though, like when I would stand in line at Starbucks, grumbling about how I paid way too much for the Americano I was waiting for, which basically tastes the same as coffee, but which I ordered anyway because it's at least something I can't make at home so I can make the overpriced thing somewhat justifiable. I would be standing there and those mugs and coffee things they have on sale on the shelves near where you wait would catch my eye, and I would loom over those french presses and pick one up and play with it, and then they would call my drink and I would put it down and forget about it. That's the closest I've gotten, I think.

So imagine how happy I was when, on my birthday, after an entire year of coulda gotten one but never got around to it, I received a beautiful Bodum 12 oz. french press. I especially liked the fact that it was a Bodum because that's the brand I have at home. They also seem to be the de facto french press brand which I didn't know until I looked it up on Wikipedia just now. Anyway, I wasn't just happy, I was elated. I was out of control happy. You might even say I was being unreasonable, that's how happy I was. It was just a french press.

Around this time I had been trying to get up earlier, like 6AM early, and I was hitting at about a .5 avg, but that next morning I got out no problem. I scarfed down as fast a breakfast as I could and unpacked my new toy. It was beautiful. I poured over the instructions, even though it's a no-brainer to use. I loaded it up, waited five minutes, pushed the strainer, and savored the taste. It was just how I remembered, that wonderful, full bodied, aromatic, heavy but not too heavy taste of coffee that you can't get with a tea strainer. I had another cup mid morning. My second. It was just as good. No one could ruin my mood that day because I finally had one, that thing that I've wanted for so long, and the next day I'd be able to have another cup from that thing that I've wanted for so long.

In Japan we don't have sink disposals. At least I don't know anyone that has one. I'm pretty sure it's a completely foreign concept here. So you need to catch all those bits of food in the sink and throw them away separately later. If you let it build up too much it gets pretty gross. And nothing clogs it up faster than used ground coffee, so I usually just throw it out directly into the trash can. I'm a bit impatient, so instead of scooping out the coffee, I got really used to just sort of banging my tea strainer against the trash can until all the stuff came out. You can see where this is going.

That second morning I woke up late, but thankfully it was still the morning because it doesn't feel right to make coffee at home in the afternoon, and I was just as excited to make that mid morning cup of coffee as the day before. I scarfed down another round of eggs and went to work with the thing. It was divine, as expected. I was almost done washing the dishes when it came to my beloved french press, and more specifically, to clean out those leftover coffee things stuck to the bottom of my french press. Without thinking, I bang it on the side of the trash can once, twice, and oh my, suddenly I was holding pieces of what was left of my beloved, waited for a year to have, only made three cups out of french press. I think I must have stood there for five minutes, holding that glass and what was left of the plastic handle, in complete shock.

There were a million things going through my head. I think the first was denial. Like, it's ok, I can fix this, it isn't so bad. After all, I've only made three cups of coffee with the thing, and I've wanted it for a year. Then it turned into the deepest, darkest sadness, for the loss of this inanimate thing that somehow made me so happy, even though there was no explanation why it would make me so happy beyond just being reasonably happy about it. I almost cried. There are very few things that are acceptable to cry about, and this is far from any of them. I was visibly shaken. I finally dropped all of it in the trash can and didn't talk to anyone for hours. It was hard not to think about it.

In retrospect, it was so obvious the thing would break like that. I'm surprised it didn't the first two times I cleaned it. I just got so ingrained with the motions from that damn plastic tea strainer. I had a long talk about it, with a friend, about how tragic it was that I had so little time with it before I lost it. He just laughed at me, and that's what I deserved, because you don't get sad about this thing that costs twenty dollars and which I can go out and buy any time I want.

So now I'm back to the tea strainer. It's been about a month now, since the incident. I find it even harder to go out and get another one than before. It's like I don't deserve another one, another go, since I let that last one slip through my fingers after such a short time with it.

Now, replace, in the overly dramatic story above, the words french press, with any other word(s) in your life that could possibly fit this situation, even if it's a bit of a stretch. And now realize how silly it is that you're feeling sorry for yourself, or you're feeling hesitant, or you're procrastinating, about something that you can just go out and get.