Use The Hole

Nearly everywhere coffee is served in this country you’ll find what we, at Chicago Coffee Cadre #7, call a “mixing station.” I.e., a stand where a patron finds plasticware, wooden stirring rods, a variety of sweetener packets, and creamer carafes. Additionally, our mixing stations (we have two) each feature a hole, six inches in diameter. Said hole exists as the opening above a hidden receptacle. Said receptacle awaits the rubbish that results from the addition of whatever you put into your coffee. 

[If this is, indeed, you, have you ever considered just how many white / brown / pink / green / yellow / powder blue paper packets of sweetener you’ve ripped open and discarded in your lifetime? What if you had to keep all of those packets with you for the rest of your days? How on Earth would you ever get by if all idiotic “single-use” things—like sweetener packets and mixing rods—were outlawed?] 

Most patrons of CCC #7 understand and appreciate the function of the hole in our respective mixing stations. As for the rest, they’ll inexplicably leave their emptied sweetener packets on the edge of the hole—basically, hanging over it—if not right beside it. Worse, they’ll lay their damp stir rods across the hole. Why? To demonstrate the concept of diameter? Or do they fear that their used rod, once warmed by the coffee, might, if dropped into the trash, spark a fire? 

And why do they leave their emptied paper cups and soiled napkins in the dish bin with the ceramic plates and mugs? Are they sending a message of disapproval, exacting some passive-aggressive punishment? Is this behavior indicative of a mental illness? Do they do it to “buck the system”? (If so, exactly which “system” do they seek to buck?) Do they do it because they can get away with it? Or, are they simply slobs? 

As for myself, I drink my joe black. It’s brewed in my kitchen, by Mr. Coffee. 

22 May 2000

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