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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Give Me My God Damned Coffee!

I woke up in my new place today, a little late because I had the blinds down and my room was as dark as pitch. I went to the grocery store to stock my kitchen yesterday. In fact, I made two trips. Why not? The supermarket is about twenty steps from the front door of my building. As soon as I woke up I realized that I forgot to buy coffee. I couldn’t find any coffee in the kitchen and the little espresso maker looks like it belongs to someone who doesn’t drink much coffee—at least not at home. I wasn’t panicking.

As I just said, the supermarket is only two skips away. I walked out on my balcony and almost let out a scream when I saw that it was closed. I figured there must be some holiday which would explain why there were about 200 people in the street below me last night at 4:30 a.m. I didn’t get the memo for the holiday. Then I noticed that the three cafes that I can see from my balcony were also closed.

I quickly got dressed and walked outside. The bakery on the corner was open so I was able to have a shot of coffee. Spanish take their coffee in diminutive doses: a cortado here, an espresso there. I’m sure by the end of the day it all adds up to the daily recommended amount, but I need a lot more coffee in the morning than what fits inside an espresso cup.

The Spanish also don’t like to linger over their coffee like we do in America; that’s why they often do it standing up at the bar. For this reason I didn’t want to sit at one place and throw back the five or six shots it was going to take to get my engine to turn over. I left the bakery and starting walking to the next cafĂ©.

The next place I found was completely packed but next door there is a little grocery store run by some east Indians. Thank God no one gave the Indians the memo about the holiday. I found coffee and the mother lode of dried beans, rice, and spices. I would have loved to look around a little more thoroughly but I had to go home and shoot up. The Indian grocery store would be there in a few hours but I wasn’t going to last too long with so little coffee in my system. I decided against getting another cortado along the way back and went straight home.

I loaded up the tiny little espresso maker and put it on the stove. The stoves here don’t have pilot lights so you need to start them manually. The little lighter by the stove that serves this purpose was completely out of fuel and I couldn’t find any matches. This was really turning into a cruel joke. I considered breathing in the gas fumes while my mind raced through all of the ways I had learned to make fire—I did go to Air Force survival school, after all. It wasn’t pretty but I lit the hot water heater—which has it’s own pilot—and from that small flame I ignited the end of a piece of paper and then lit the stove. I was fairly proud of my Yankee ingenuity until I let the stove go out when I was fucking with the flame. I did finally make a bit of coffee, and then I repeated the whole process for another cup. I need a bigger coffee maker. I need a nap, or a drink.

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