As I wait for my coffee to come forth through the combination of stagnate hot water and the forced push of said water through the compact coffee grounds within the stylized plastic cup, (naturally decaffeinated for my overly taxed nerves which are affected by extra stimuli), this cup of coffee is,of course, from hand-picked beans, fairly traded, well packaged, and, no doubt, still sold with ample profit to the middle man. I look about, realizing suddenly that I am thinking of nothing. In a rush I begin thinking of those nimble fingers picking the perfectly ripened coffee bean and keeping hearth and home together so that my brief reprieve at work could be enjoyed. To avoid consumerism guilt let me put a face to the nameless.
Oh the wonderful aroma of 21st century coffee! The perfectly brewed one cupper coffee pots that have taken away the traditions of percolators and the drudgery of almost religious fervor in preparing that perfect pot of coffee, so that I am able to scurry back to the desk, the telephone, the computer and the mass of humanity who can’t understand why health insurance doesn’t pay for the world’s woes. This keeps my “hearth and home” together, dodging such questions. The coffee bean planter, cultivator, and picker meet clandestinely, within the tall, glass and steel buildings of the mid-American insurance industry via me.
The insurance industry and the business of coffee production demands my abject compliance. The women and men, the day laborers whom the western world believes extinct, as well as the insurance industry pegs who, through constant, at-you-fingertips mopery, stiffen their joints and bow their back during their life’s labors at the front line of claims payment; are at the beck and call of those in charge and those who simply don’t believe in death.
I stand before the coffee pot waiting for the heap of brown to puddle into the well thought out coffee-mug-of-a-gift that my son had chosen for me two Christmases ago.
Glancing around to distract myself from my own depression, I notice on the shelf above the coffee machine that my conglomerate employer provides, a tubular jar of cinnamon. Vietnamese cinnamon.
The vast cultures and the global economy are meeting here at my job.
Dress and trappings are everything, so I’m told – and so it seems that is true as I watch my fellow workers shake daintily and with fervor the cinnamon into their gratis coffee – gratis except for the cup. The cups are carefully given by our children from the allowances we can afford to give them.
I too reach for the cinnamon and with a heavy shake cover the top of my coffee with the stuff to the wide-eyed amazement of my fellow employees; too much their expressions say but they turn from me and say nothing.
Before the mixture sinks, I sip the hot liquid from the cup my son thought worthy of me, the taste is surprisingly sweet in aroma but when it touches my mouth something like dirt, sandpapers my tongue and grits between my teeth.
Yes, yes, so brief we pause in our consumption and so long we work to take a sip.