My day would be easier if I wasn’t trying to slice up roasted coffee beans with a knife.
Let me explain. My niece, who hates coffee, or perhaps has simply not been properly initiated into the wonderfulness that is hot bitter caffeination the morning, teaches private music lessons, and frequently gets little tokens of appreciation like Starbucks gift cards or actual coffee (I assume she gets gifts of chocolate as well but never complains about this; she’s not stupid, you know). At Christmas, she commented that she should just hand me the Starbucks gift cards (!!!OMG yes of course hand them over!!!) but I mentioned that they have some non-caffeinated smoothies and she started drinking them instead. (despair.)
But when I went and visited the family she brought over all the actual coffee, still in its Christmasy packaging, right before I came back to my outpost in Postdoc Land. Sure, it’s probably old, but it is Peet’s! Oh, Peet’s coffee, how I love you! I have missed you here in the hinterlands! Starbucks just does not provide the same milieu of African textiles, Baroque instrumental music, and hipster pretension! My darling, my coffee, my --- wait. This isn’t pre-ground. It’s whole beans. What the fuck am I supposed to do with three, pound-bags of whole beans?
When I went to my hippie grocery store I did not buy coffee, since, hello, I have a free supply and could therefore save money. But I also didn’t see any coffee grinders for sale in the little kitchen supplies area. On my trips to pick up cleaning supplies and printer paper and random household stuff (three different places) there were no grinders-of-beans to be found.
I contemplated those pepper shakers that grind up whole peppercorns.
I was beginning to get annoyed. Besides, I don’t want an extra step in my regular coffee ritual and don’t want to spend money on a grinder to save money on my free coffee. My free white elephant coffee that was starting to mock me as it sat in a pile on my kitchen counter. My positively smug coffee. Chortling evilly, no doubt, as it watched me drop things and fumble about in a caffeine-deprived haze. Oh Peet's, as cruel as you are beautiful!
When I mentioned my need for a coffee grinder to one of the postdocs, Local Kid Makes Good, things seemed to be looking up. She had one and totally understood the logic of my wanting to borrow it just for the duration of these bags. We forgot the handoff on at least three separate occasions as we went to orientations and met up with various new postdocs and old friends.
Finally she slid a paper bag across the table of the sportsbar we met up at, all the new and old postdocs. This isn’t quite our regular haunt --- that place has pretty bad food and no hard alcohol --- but if you want to eat food while getting your drink on, this place has good heavy stuff to serve as ballast, as it were, and extend your drinking time.
We extended our drinking time. And I had more to drink than I usually do. More than I should have. We extended our shouting about various injustices in academia past midnight. We argued about bad pop music and the difference between “Full House” and “Family Ties” into the wee hours. By the end, we had degenerated into mere “Nuh uh!” “Uh huh!” and grunting.
The next day, I ate toast and called the bar:
“Mumblemumblemumble _____’s Bar. Last name?”
“I’m over here by the stack of tabs that hasn’t been cashed out. Last name?”
“Oh, uh, no. No, I have my credit card. I was wondering ... did anyone turn in a coffee grinder?”
“I’m missing my coffee grinder and...”
“If that’s supposed to mean something dirty...”
“No no I left a brown paper bag behind on the table I was at and wondered if someone had picked it up? It had a coffee grinder in it.”
And you know what? A blender totally doesn’t do the job.