Don’t skimp on the coffee

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One of the great things about having Ms. WM leave town until September is that I finally control the purse, and am getting closer and closer (baby steps!) to wearing the pants.

As DJ likes to describe his approach to finances as “ratshit cheap bastard,” I prefer to describe myself as “willing to spend anything except money.”

So when we ran out of coffee it was a great time to improve on our home economy by purchasing something more reasonably priced than Trader Joe’s 28-oz. can of Organic Morning Wakeup Breakfast Blend, because $14.99 is a ton of money to spend on burnt beans.

As a pretend cyclist and profamateur opponent of Confederate flag bike races, morning coffee isn’t simply important. It is the morning. The day that begins with bad coffee gets hit with the “replay” button–I go back to bed and wait for 24 hours, then try again. The day that begins with no coffee doesn’t even begin.

So I walked over to the Pavilion’s. This is a fancy supermarket owned by Safeway, where for something that costs $1.00 at Safeway you can pay $2.00 and enjoy the thought that you are morally better and financially more stable than all of those impoverished heathens forced to shop at lesser-branded stores. I enjoyed my feeling of superiority and was only marginally bothered by my dirty t-shirt, broken flip-flops, and home buzzcut that I’d kind of messed up in the back.

I stood in the coffee aisle, first mesmerized and then outraged. Coffee cost $7.99 AND UP for a 10-oz. bag of unground beans? Are you fuggin’ kidding me? I checked to make sure the prices were dollars, not drachmas, reais, or pesos.

As I left the Starbucks and Peets shelves I moved along to the right, where name brands became less familiar and prices began to dip a bit. “Senor Ortiz’s Guatemalan Blend” for $6.99. “Colombian Superior” for $5.99. Then I left the 10-oz. bag section and hit the plastic buckets labeled with the names of my childhood. “If it’s Folger’s, it’s got to be good!” The prices were looking even better.

Then at the end of the line I came to the steel cans. Standing at the end was a small assemblage of fine coffee products made by “Pantry Essentials.” The 11.5-oz. can cost a mere $2.49.

“How bad can it be?” I wondered.

“Fucking undrinkably nastily raw-sewagish terrible,” my inner coffee voice answered.

“Yeah, but if it’s undrinkable I can toss it. It’s only $2.49.”

“You never toss anything once you’ve paid for it,” said Inner Voice.

“Ok, then I’ll drink it. It will only take a few days anyway.”

“What about your son?”

I paused. In fact I’d forgotten that the other coffee consumer was my eldest son. He was quiet, polite, clean, ate everything he was served, worked hard, and had only one small pleasure in life, which was his morning coffee. “He may not know the difference,” I told Inner Voice.

“You are Satan,” said Inner Voice, and went back to bed.

The next morning I opened the lid of the Pantry Essentials coffee. It smelled awful. I put three heaping spoons into the coffee press, because we don’t have a coffee maker. I poured over some boiling water and let it sit for a few minutes. I plunged the press and poured the coffee. The awful smell had intensified. It had the odor of something that’s been between your teeth for a few days, or that funny stink that comes out of the disposal when you’ve been putting lots of crap down it and have forgotten for a week or so to run the motor.

“Better cut this shit with heavy cream, lots,” I thought, and did.

That first sip of morning glory was gnarly. Thousands of Davidson taste buds marched off to their death with that swallow. I grit my teeth and drank the cup. “Maybe,” I said as I left for my morning bike ride — a coffee cruise — “he won’t notice.”

When I got home he had gone to work. And he had left me a note.

pantry_essentials

So, I guess he noticed.

END

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