The Devil’s Coffee


This morning I planned to buy myself an iced coffee on my way to the office, but with a tight budget that did,T make much sense when I’ve got a French press in the cupboard and a big jar of coffee doing nothing in the fridge, so I executed an about-turn half way from my front door to the lift, collected my coffee making paraphernalia and headed off to work, happy to think I was being both caffeinated and economical.

Nothing ever goes exactly to plan. Somehow, as I pressd the plunger down on the press after I’d brewed my coffee, half of it spurted up and over my desk, leaving coffee stains and grounds all over the place. I wiped those up and decanted the coffee into a cup.

Dark, dark coffee, like the espresso Satan drinks when he’s having a Hellish day.

What could be bad about that? Down the hatch it went, and half an hour later, after the caffeine spike had dissipated, I was in full-on coffee hangover mode. The joy dropped out of life. My brain dropped out of my head. The sense of purpose… Well, I’m sure that’s still somewhere under my desk.

I assumed I was dehydrated. Drinking water didn’t help. I thought I was hungry. Eating a snack bar didn’t help. I had a phone call, and half way through that somebody started ringing the doorbell for the office, and because nobody answered it, they kept ringing. And ringing. And ringing.

There were a couple of other people in the office, apparently too important to notice the doorbell. They are too cheap to get me a wireless headset for my phone, so I was tied to the desk, going through coffee withdrawal pangs, trying not to scream at a man in Kuala Lumpur on the other end of the line, the incessant ringing of the doorbell a nail down the blackboard of my mind, and then my wife called up on my other line to ask me where I was and what I was doing.

It felt as though I was trapped in a Civil Service assessment centre, the kind where they test your tolerance of stress by loading more and more tasks onto you until you break. Somehow I managed to not explode at my wife, or Mr Kuala Lumpur, and then I put down the phone and charged down the stairs, three steps at a time, to go and punch the lights out of the urchin who was ringing the doorbell.

Thankfully, somebody else got there first, because they’d been trying to get the attention of somebody on a different floor, to deliver some mooncakes, a dessert that I can’t speak of here for fear of endangering my cholesterol levels. It’s lucky I didn’t answer the door as I might have told them what to do with their mooncakes in a manner incompliant with corporate guidelines on communication.

And then I might have gone to prison.

Basically, I should be kept clear of caffeinated beverages of all types.

I went home with the cursed coffee pot, mincing through Chinatown, arm stuck out at a right angle from my hip, because if you can’t walk through Chinatown with an empty cafetiere in an affected manner, what can you do?

I went home, blocked the sink with coffee grounds, blocked the toilet, surveyed my life, and realized once more than I must not drink coffee.


2 responses to “The Devil’s Coffee”

  1. I’ve been told you can get all sorts of different mooncakes in Singapore, apart from those bog standard type.

    Do you think you made your coffee a bit strong? You can do nice things like put some milk and ice cream in it and then sit in your office freezing to death on it. Don’t forget your DARPA.

    Hope your body manages to reset its caffeine levels overnight.

  2. My wife’s the expert in my family on mooncakes – I don’t like them, but she’ll eat almost any kind. Singapore has quite the range of different mooncakes (or at least the ones that are delivered to our office) but I seem to remember there being a cornucopia of varieties in Hong Kong.

    As for the coffee, I woke up this morning and wimped out with an iced latte from Starbucks. I don’t get that horrendous caffeine downfall from iced coffee – really not sure why. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll experiment with French press + ice cubs and see what happens…

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