How I Became The Coffee Queen
It's Friday morning and my boss has a task for me.
"We just need to run the water through," Says Ken, leafing through the instruction manual which came with our new drinks machine. "There are four thermos flasks that need testing. And then, well, feel free to try it with coffee."
As an avid coffee drinker, I feel like an alcoholic in Bargain Booze. I love my job.
There are roughly two litres of freshly brewed coffee on my desk. It's enough for an extended business meeting. Add another flask and you've got yourself a coffee morning. But there's only me.
I waft the first cup of coffee under my nose. It smells like scribbling down notes at team away days. It smells like tiny plastic-wrapped biscuits and boardroom tables. It smells like pretending to be an adult in a room full of your superiors, but I am definitely not an adult in this situation. I am a child who has spent all their lunch money on sweets.
The bitterness burns my tongue and I wish I'd remembered to buy milk. It occurs to me that the coffee may be too hot to drink in the two and a half hours I have left at work today. I banish that thought from my mind. Good thoughts only. Positive. Mental. Attitude.
This is wake-you-up coffee, I'm already pumped. I take my second coffee into the vestry while I print the weekly newsletter. I have 100 copies to print and start looking at pictures of inflatable horses while I wait. I'm standing by the printer drinking coffee and laughing so hard my sides hurt. Help.
As I attempt to take a shot of my pump-action coffee, flooding my desk with brown liquid, I start to hope for a knock at my door. Where is the caretaker? Perhaps he would like a coffee? I wouldn't describe this completely voluntary challenge as a mistake, but my face feels a little flushed. How has it only been an hour since I poured my first cup?
I get an email notification and reply at lightning speed. My fingers are comets shooting across the sky. My sentences all end in exclamation marks. I am an exclamation mark.
I'm starting to feel it now, whatever "it" may be. I have a theory that it's a bat-signal shining on my frontal lobe to warn me of a incoming migraine, or perhaps the onset of a heart attack. I feel great.
I am cleaning the coffee machine lovingly, like I'm tending to an alter. I polish its steel face. It's so shiny. My office walls are covered in posters and collages created by the Sunday school kids. Yes, the kingdom is like a mustard seed. Yes.
I float back into the vestry to check on the printing. Google tells me there are an "unfathomable" amount of molecules in a human body, but I can feel every one of mine.
Someone arrives to view the building for a booking (Oh god) and I show them around. My eyebrows feel permanently raised.
I'm hot and I'm cold. I'm yes and I'm no. I'm an admin machine. I cheat and take a peek at the inside of the flask. How is it only half empty? The poster directly opposite my desk spells out the word "forgiveness" in large glittery letters. It's never felt more appropriate. Forgive me, body.
Coffee Number Seven stares at me accusingly next to my laptop. Drink me. I'm Alice tumbling down the rabbit hole. The collage on the wall asks me "Why is water important to you?" I've sent out all the invoices and my right eye is twitching.
I can do this.
I cannot do this.
I finish the last dregs of my seventh coffee in two hours, and wait for the UFO hovering over my head to adjust its calibrations, to beam me up. I feel like I'm being filmed. I survey my office and everything looks normal, except for the massive trolley containing coffee paraphernalia and the goblin hiding under the table. I'm tapping out.
I clear my inbox and set the heating schedule for the week. The last thing I do before I log off and out for the week is send my boss an email:
"The coffee machine definitely. works."