Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Writer Out of Coffee - Shaves Head, Others

I am drinking the last cup of coffee in the house. This is including the ice coffee that I keep in the refrigerator for those days when it's so hot, if I were to sip a freshly brewed cup, my face would melt. My face doesn't look good melty, but I can't go without coffee. It's the last addiction standing now that I have forsaken all others...that sounds almost religious. It is. Because goddamn it, if I don't have coffee there will be hell to pay.

So why don't I just run to the store and get some? Because it would be much easier for you guys to just send espresso shots in the mail. This is beats the rubber chicken suggestion of from the other day by a long shot! Ok, ok, ok...I'm getting excited now. This is what you do, each of you send one coffee bean and I shall combine those beans to make one mighty elixir! A gumbo of caffeine! Only I don't have a grinder, so I'll have to chew them.

I haven't brought myself to get a new grinder since my old one died. It was one I'd grown up with, a Braun, and I woke up every morning from 8-12th grade to its roar in the kitchen. When my parents moved out and I bought the house, Braun stayed. It was part of the deal, like the walls and the plumbing - Braun wasn't going anywhere. And it continued to serve me well until a couple of years ago when it had a stroke and froze up. It was 22 years old by then, which is 87 in grinder years. I tried to fix it, but taking it to the vet probably wasn't a good idea.
"So," I said, petting its dispense cap as it lay on the examination table. "Is there anything you can do for him?"
The vet paused and then said, gravely, "No."
I began to weep. "I knew it, I guess I just didn't want to think it was true."
"Ma'am," he said. "It's a coffee grinder."
More crying. "I know."
"It's not alive."
I stood agape. "Well, not anymore it's not! Come on, Braun, we're going home."
I grabbed his plug and led him out of Captain Obvious's office. Honestly. No bedside manner.

Anyway, I get oddly attached to these things. And honestly, not to dishonour Braun's memory but I haven't avoided getting a new grinder out of loyalty but because I've gotten used to spooning grinds into the filter. Coffee brewing, to me, is all about ritual. Change one aspect of it, and it throws off my whole day.

So what am I going to do about tomorrow morning? I'm going to have to go to the store tonight. I will go to Walmart, pass by the kitchen appliances and think about Braun. Do they even make grinders that run for  22 years anymore? Was Braun made out of a jet engine?

OOH - ok, new idea. Just send me engine parts and I will build my own grinder. It'll have a propeller as a blade, chrome fixtures, white wall tires, and, instead of a plug, an ignition. This is going to be the hotrod of grinders. I shall call her Fuzzy Dice, and she's gonna run until my grandchildren are 87.

And in the spirit of throwing pieces and parts together, I offer you this:

Johnny Cash's "One Piece at a Time." You might have an aversion to country music, but just listen to it and when he mentions something about a car, just substitute it with "coffee grinder."


Tom Harold said...

First: I love your writing!

Second: I have a blender that is the king of all blenders. It's very old. It came with the house, much like Braun, only the lady who used to live here before me bought it back when she was probably in her thirties or something. It's so old the pitcher is glass - and it has no handle! It's so old that it only has "Hi" and "Lo" speeds on it!

This blender was manufactured back when the world believed that people wanted to buy things that lasted, not that the world wanted to buy stuff to buy stuff and damn anything that was more than two years old. The motor in it was probably also used in things like 16-speed ceiling fans and heater motors for 1953 Cadillacs. That thing would BLEND, baby!

Sadly, the blender blade mechanism suffered issues. It was permanently affixed to the pitcher, and the sealed bearing that held it in place in the bottom wore out, causing it to wobble during operation which had the effect of producing a high-pitched screaming screech something like that of a steam train at full boil going off the rails with every single brake locked up at the same time.

Of course, I got rid of it and got a new one. Wait, no, of course not. Why would I do that? It still works - sort of. Everything is fine except for that bearing, and I cant stand to toss it out when all it needs is for me to find another pitcher on Ebay (looked, haven't found it yet), or figure out how to fix it (haven't even tried yet). That was three, four, maybe five years ago, and I still don't have a blender.

But I have hope. Hope, and a mighty, revving motor with two speeds in a chrome stand that weighs at least fifteen pounds and is looking to do some blending.

Third: Once when my brother and I were coming home from the drag strip we stopped at a nearby gas station for gas. While paying I flipped through the cassette spin-rack on the counter. There was a Johnny Cash collection tape, and I pulled it out and saw it had "One Piece at a Time" on it. I bought it ($3.99, and a bargain at twice the price!), and it got played in that car for probably three or four years straight almost every time we had it out to the strip.


Genevieve said...

Tom, I love YOUR writing, man. Perhaps if we took apart Braun and your blender we could make a blending-coffee-grinding hybrid that will still run even when archeologists find it buried in the dirt 700 years from now! And they will marvel at its architects!! (us)