Friday, January 14, 2011

Things That Make Us Go

The other day, our coffeemaker died after a long day of gurgling, steaming, sputtering effort which failed to produce even one drip of coffee. We knew it was coming – first the on switch stopped working and we had to set the auto timer and trick it into turning on every time, then there were several unprovoked incidents of grounds overflowing into the pot, and finally there was the death rattle that produced first a half pot, then a quarter pot, then no pot of coffee at all. Our coffeemaker gave us years of faithful service, and we worked it hard, sometimes making several pots a day. All that time I never realized how much we depend on that machine – until the day it died, and our lives seemingly came to a halt.
We dragged our French press pot down from the cupboard and tried to remember the correct grounds to water ratio, but failed most of the time, either making it too weak or too strong – usually erring on the too-strong side, we sometimes were unable to push the plunger down all the way. The French press made a smaller quantity of coffee – not enough even to get us through the first hour of the day; plus, we couldn’t set it up at night to brew us a pot before the alarm went off in the morning. The corner of the counter where the coffee machine used to sit looked so desolate, I could hardly bear to look at it.
I surfed Amazon and pored over reviews. Should we get the same kind again? It did work well for a long time, but reviews told me that the faulty on-switch was a common problem. Should we go basic and inexpensive, for fear of throwing money away on a defective machine? Should we invest in a high quality coffeemaker? Should we get a red one? I went to Bed, Bath, and Beyond and was dispirited to find a limited and overpriced selection. Anyway, who wants to lug a coffeemaker home on the subway when you can have one delivered to your door by the hot UPS guy? We ended up getting the same model as before, in a different color so that it felt new. When it arrived, I did a little dance around the apartment; I can’t remember the last time a purchase made me so blissfully happy. All was right with the world because there was a brand-new coffeemaker percolating away on the kitchen counter. It was late in the afternoon, but we made pot after pot of coffee in celebration.
The coffeemaker may give me a reason to get up in the morning, but the thing that gets me out of bed in the morning (thank you, alarm clock function) and doesn’t leave my side all day long is my cell phone. I used to think that my purse was my most important possession, but now it’s just a place to stash my cell phone – when the phone isn’t tucked in my pocket or clutched tightly in my hand, that is.
I was a late adopter of cell phone technology; I was scornful of it (remember when people were still scornful of cell phones?) and then scornful of texting (I didn’t see the point), but now I am not scornful of any of it. I love it. I love texting my friends – it’s like passing notes in class, only instead of crumpling up notes and tossing them at people’s heads, you just text them. Texting makes it easier to meet up with friends, easier to exchange contact info with new acquaintances, and easier to flirt and tease, if you are so inclined. (Why yes, I am.) I actually think texting has caused adults to regress to a junior-high level of maturity – but who cares? Life is too short to worry about acting grown up all the time. Besides, junior high wasn’t any fun anyway, so we might as well get our juvenile kicks now. If sending flirtatious texts to cute playground daddies is wrong, I don’t want to be right.
Sure, there are lots of things I depend on each day – lip gloss, Metrocard, pen and paper so I can make lists (who doesn’t love a list?), iPod, running shoes – but the coffeemaker and cell phone trump them all. I suppose lots of people depend on their cars above all else but I’m lucky to live where I don’t need a car. My feet are my primary mode of transportation, so the money I’d spend on auto maintenance goes to shoes and pedicures, and the gas money goes to my subway pass.
What’s indispensible in your life that you take for granted? Today I’m taking a moment to send up a thank-you to the universe for my new coffeemaker and my beloved cell phone – the things that make me go.
Illustration © Raj Martino


Joyce Hanson said...

1) beautiful illustration by Raj!
2) oh man, when i first read the first sentence--"our coffeemaker died after a long day of gurgling, steaming, sputtering effort"--i pictured a local barista in kensington, some poor old man who just couldn't give up working at his cafe! clearly, i was mistaken.
See you at Shenanigan's! ;>

Mrs. Motley said...

Ha! I will definitely see you at Shenanny's - xo