There is a point in a man’s (or woman’s) career that they wonder if they should have just done something else in their lives. Even if we so love our specific focus, we still have a day or two or three where things make us want to shove someone’s head in the fridge and slam the door a few times.
Today was one such day here.
Don’t get me wrong – I’ve had several crazy days here at work (as you probably read), but they aren’t soul-sucking bad. Hell, this incident wasn’t soul-sucking bad. But this is the downhill ride from the 4th to the weekend, and with less people here and in a better mood, you’d think office drama would be less likely to happen. Oh-ho-ho-ho so not true.
We drink coffee over in my area, because we’re always all so tired. I don’t drink it that often – maybe once a month, when I’m really tired. When I do pull up for a cup, it’s my job to brew the next pot. Which is super simple – coffee in the filter, filter in the machine, hit the button, wait 10 minutes, clean out machine, get coffee pot. Except this morning. This is the exchange from this morning.
Me (waiting on the other people’s coffee to get done): Hum hum hum …
Raymond (stepping up): What are you doing?
Me (looking at Raymond): Waiting for my turn at the coffee maker.
Raymond (looking at my filter full of coffee): What kind of coffee is that?
Me (looking at the bag in my other hand): Uh, Eight O’Clock Dark.
Raymond: That doesn’t sound like the approved coffee for the machine.
Okay, hang on one second. There is approved coffee for our machine? I’m starting to imagine there is a list of rules for brewing and drinking coffee at work, and they are in some crazy folder at HR and on Raymond’s desk.
Me (making the skeptical face*): Approved … coffee …?
Raymond: Yes, there’s a list of approved coffees for the maker, for logical reasons.
Me (still making the face): Logical reasons? Which are?
Raymond: Non-approved coffee types may sour the machine or clog the spout.
Now I look down at the coffee maker. It’s a 1980’s brand – plastic thing you pull out and put the filter with the coffee into before pushing the plastic thing*** back in. There’s no special pipes or tubes or anything to clog with coffee, especially if you are using a filter. I’m thinking Ray’s full of shit at this point. I notice he’s also holding coffee in his hands. Hmmmmm.
Me (seeing the pot is done): Well, you just send me that memo, and I’ll check it myself.
Raymond: I don’t think you should use your coffee in the machine without checking it first.
Me (putting the other pot on the warmer): You’re not cutting in front of me, Raymond.
Raymond: Listen – you keep acting like a jerk and you’re never going to get anywhere in life.
I put our pot under the maker and put my coffee in. I push the button. Coffee starts brewing. Raymond is now making the angry face** while standing there. He looks at his watch.
Me: Hey, Ray, where’s your filter?
Raymond: I don’t have to use a filter – mine comes in little baggies.
Me: Little baggies?
Raymond (showing me one): Yes. Cool, eh?
So what Raymond is doing, I guess, is making tea. I say “tea” because he’s putting a little one serving baggie in the giant machine’s basket and making a whole pot of coffee from that.
Me: Here, let me show you something. Give me your cup and baggie.
Raymond (fidgeting): I don’t know …
Me: Just let me show you something, to save you time.
Raymond: Okay …
I put one of the baggies (which has a string) into the cup, and then use the spigot on the side of the coffee machine to fill the cup. I stir it with straw, making coffee. Raymond watches me, wringing his hands together. I think he’s also making tiny high-pitched noises while watching.
Me: There. Proper coffee in less than 2 mintues.
Raymond: But it’s so dark!
Me: It’s COFFEE, Ray.
Raymond (increduously): What if I want more?
Me: Come back and fill up the cup with more hot water. There’s plenty go to around.
Raymond (sipping it): Hmmmm. It does taste better …
Me: Because you aren’t dilluting your coffee with more water than coffee.
Raymond: Hmmmm (walks away)
Later, I get an email from Raymond about the Proper Procedures for Brewing Coffee in the office. Turns out the rules are there for two reasons:
1. You don’t leave your pot on the main heater so it evaporates and starts coating the coffee pot with black tar sludge (thus tainting future coffee out of that pot).
2. You use a filter, so you don’t get terrible coffee with grounds in it. Possibly leaving grounds in the brewing thing to taint other coffee. It’s just polite, you know? (That’s what it says, word for word)
No one has apparently thought of cleaning out the coffee pots or the brewing chamber if you have an “accident.” Or using the spigot on the front of the coffee machine to make single cups of coffee from bags.
Huh. I learn something new about this place every day.