Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Takes Me Back

Our office coffeemaker stopped working this morning. This really is a near-crisis, given how many times a day we refill the 12-cup pot and how the moment we hear the beeps indicating the new pot has finished brewing, my coworkers and I descend upon it like a pride of lions all sharing one gazelle. If you’re not there within two-and-a-half minutes, you miss out, and may be stuck with the task of preparing the next pot.

Fortunately, since we never throw anything away, there were two extra coffeemakers in the cabinet. One was missing its pot, either because it was broken some time ago or because someone is using it as a watering can for their office fichus. The other—which we are now using--is a tiny, four-cup pot like one finds in a hotel room.

I had a coffeemaker just like this one in the little two-room apartment where I lived for most of grad school. I guess it was really three rooms, since the bathroom did have a door, but calling it two rooms always brings to mind Tom Petty’s “The Apartment Song”: I used to live in a two-room apartment / neighbors knockin’ on my wall / times were hard, I don’t wanna knock it / I don’t miss it much at all.

I was just starting to make regular coffee (as opposed to sugary lattes) a habit, and Matt gave me the little appliance when he bought the nice big “Barista” brand coffeemaker we still have in our kitchen. Seeing this little pot takes me back to that little apartment and to that time of my life. It was the first—and only—place I ever lived alone. It is where Charlotte and I bonded for life and where Matt proposed. It was always too hot or too cold, and the tub drain frequently got clogged. My window was at eye-level with a swanky upstairs bar across the street where the staff would blast music as they cleaned up in the wee hours. One time, they got a trash bag stuck in a tree just outside the bar’s windows. The eye-sore bothered me so much that one night, after enjoying an appletini or two there, I leaned out the window, yanked the bag out of the tree, and gave it to the bartender to throw away. Half a block down was another bar that attracted a lot of bikers who would rev their engines at a maddening volume.

I remember getting up on Saturday mornings and making coffee. I would sit on the couch (from which I could reach the TV, the kitchen table, and my desk) and read or watch CNN. It feels like fall. Dressed in a sweater and jeans, I would walk the block over to Starbucks or the library at school. Matt and I would get together at some point in the day--though we had previously spent most of our time at his place on 18th Ave., once I got Charlotte we hung out at my place more, so as to not abandon the kitty! It was also in this era that Matt and I each had "our night" to cook for the both of us, and I recall having "Mexican night" and "Greek night" back in those days when fixing dinner for two was a big deal.

It was a special time. I wouldn't trade our present state as a family of three (even up here in Clarksville!) for anything, but I still get sentimental thinking about Matt and my dating days. It was the beginning of our life together, and will forever be part of our story.

(You can't see much of the apartment here, but here's Charlotte and I in early 2005, Check back tomorrow for a Wordless Wednesday of "old" pics, i.e. the earliest digital pics I have, from 2004 and 2005.)


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