Monday, May 3, 2010

The coffee, some snickers and our opinions

If you had a vested interest in my wellbeing, you would likely reprimand me for what I recently did.  No, it wasn't anything terribly unforgivable.  I mean, there's a chance you might actually understand and empathize with me. At the same time, you'd also be thinking that I really ought to know better, show a little more restraint, be a little less impetuous.

Alright, alright, already. I'll tell you what I'm talking about.

A caffettiera.

Yep, that's it. See, I told you it wasn't anything beyond forgiving. It probably isn't terribly exciting to you either.  But, under the circumstances, it happens to be very exciting for me and a tad extravagant. Under the circumstances.

Let me explain. With my slave labor writing, I'm working long hours and getting under what I need for rent, food and the rest of it. You're familiar with the usual expenses.  So, why did I go and spend $18 on a Vittoria caffettiera - you know, the kind into which you put ground coffee in a strainer, add cold water in the base and boil the water over direct heat so that the coffee goodness trickles into the base leaving the pillaged grind in the strainer.

Why? Because after giving up coffee for years, and then recently drinking more and more of that fraudulent instant stuff, I was starting to have a desire for the real thing, made in the most traditional way my modern day living and means could afford.

And so, when I finally ventured out to do my weekly shop (although this time it was more like a day short of two weeks) and happened to see this caffettiera at this most reasonable price, I allowed instinct and sheer desire to override my rational, computing mind which was futilely telling me I couldn't afford it.

Well, I could afford it insofar as I had the money to pay for it then. It just meant there was even less available for those other, non-negotiable, pesky expenses. But, I was able to banish such inconvenient truths from my mind long enough to place the golden box into my trolley, wheel it over to the cashier and have it checked out.

I could barely contain my excitement. Couldn't wait to get home to make myself and my friend, J, who'd accompanied me to the store and who'd raised his eyebrows and pursed his lips at the sight of my treasured box at the checkout, a real cup of coffee. He was too polite and too kind to actually say anything, to my great relief.  At least, not until I began making the coffee and mentioned how very reasonable the price of the caffettiera was.

"Is it? I wouldn't know. I don't have time for those kind of things."

"Why not?" I asked quite innocently.  I mean, why would there be any guilt around a question like that anyway?  "You drink a fair bit of coffee, don't you?"

"Oh, that's all just pretentious stuff that pretentious people do telling us how to make our coffee".

That's the thing about J. I never know when he's going to shock me with another one of his narrow-minded, dismissive opinions.

"All these people who talk about fine coffee and fine wine. They're just a bunch of pretentious time-wasters (I'm sure he would have preferred to say 'wankers' but he desisted out of respect for what he assumes are my sensibilities). Why don't they go do something more useful?"

My equally opinionated mind started thinking: You know, for someone who's done a PhD, you're such a pathetic inverted snob.

Needless to say, I shared none of my private thoughts with J. Instead I remarked, with as much casualness as I could manage, "Oh, I think it's just wonderful when people find something they're passionate about (silently thinking: unlike you, you pathetic thing) and dedicate their lives to it.  I mean, it doesn't matter what it is as long as they're passionate about it.  That's a life well spent as far as I'm concerned".

Meanwhile, I'm still indulging in private, judging thoughts about J like what a sorry loser he is for thinking that he's doing the world the greatest service by teaching mature age students high school mathematics and oh, yes, how to use Microsoft office, something he'd had to learn from me in order to teach them.  And what a pathetic case he was for feeling so self-important now that he was teaching these students at, oh yes, aren't we impressed - university!!!.  For goodness sake, I'd done that years ago and I'd taught actual tertiary courses not some piddly high school subjects!

I have to confess. I really dislike J for his opinionated, inflexible views about pretty much everything.  I mean, having an opinion is one thing, You're entitled to it.  Believing what you choose is also your entitlement. But dismissing other people's opinions and views with such finality and brusqueness is hardly the behavior of a wise person, if you ask me. And J does that. Often.

You could ask what right I have to expect or even want him to be wise. Well, I can expect and want anything I like as long as I know how to accept the consequences of either having my expectations and wants satisfied or kicked in the teeth as they often are by J

He thinks he knows everything about science and politics and world history and that his opinions are the only ones that are valid.  And whenever I've provided evidence or raised questions to suggest that he doesn't have all the knowledge he claims to have, he simply kills the discussion with some summary dismissal borne on the wings of a forced snicker, "I don't agree with any of that".

Yeah, right. Just don't agree.  There's so much of the blooming world you don't agree with and even less that you are willing to accept.  And then you wonder why you feel miserable and depressed.

Well, I haven't  revealed to J my opinion about him because I don't enjoy saying things to people that I know would upset them. And it would upset J considerably if I told him exactly how I felt about him and what I thought of him. That said, it's not as if I detest him. I just do dislike intensely some things about him.

And it's not as if he doesn't have a pretty good idea that I don't care to spend too much time around him.  But I've learned to focus on the better aspects of a person and get my kicks out of that.  And J does have some endearing qualities. He's got a good and kind heart and has helped me in more ways than I can ever repay him for. But I've learned not to invest my emotions in conversations with him that can be grotesquely severed with a blunt "Oh, I don't agree with that" or "There's no Science behind that" and an irritating snicker that often accompanies it.

(Oh hello, when did you last read up on Quantum mechanics?)

Still, he did admit to enjoying the coffee I made with my new caffettiera.  Not that it would've upset me if he hadn't. I like my coffee and that's all that really matters.

Capresso MT600 10-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker with Stainless-Steel Thermal Carafe  Mr. Coffee 8-Cup Thermal Programmable Coffeemaker   Zojirushi EC-BD15 Fresh Brew Thermal Carafe Coffee Maker

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