Did You Want Coffee with Your Monday?

Nearly every Monday morning, for various reasons, I find myself reflecting on the truth of a passage from Christopher Isherwood’s novel /A Single Man/–the passage describing George’s arrival at the university for yet another mundane day of teaching:

So now George has arrived. He is not nervous in the least. As he gets out of his car, he feels an upsurge of energy, of eagerness for the play to begin. And he walks eagerly, with a springy step, along the gravel path past the Music Building toward the Department office. He is all actor now–an actor on his way up from the dressing room, hastening through the backstage world of props and lamps and stagehands to make his entrance. A veteran, calm and assured, he pauses for a well-measured moment in the doorway of the office and then, boldly, clearly, with the subtly modulated British intonation which his public demands of him, speaks his opening line: “Good morning!”

And the three secretaries–each one of them a charming and accomplished actress in her own chosen style–recognize him instantly, without even a flicker of doubt, and reply “Good morning!” to him. (There is something religious here, like responses in church–a reaffirmation of faith in the basic American dogma that it is, always, a good morning.

I’ve always loved the sarcasm with which Isherwood questions the social convention of wishing someone a good morning—especially on a Monday—the very existence of which seems to counteract the “goodness”. I couldn’t help smiling as I recalled the above passage this morning. I shuffled into the kitchen, switched on the light, rummaged through my pantry for the necessary coffee, cream, sugar, etc. In happy (or at least anxious) anticipation of my morning dose of caffeine, I set the coffee brewing and stumbled outside to let the dog relieve himself, sniff the grass, bark at birds, and otherwise show his superiority to humankind in his ability to embrace morning before sunrise.

The dog completed his business efficiently; we came back inside; I reentered the kitchen, reached for my coffee cup, and…alas! For some reason unbeknown to me, the coffeemaker hadn’t actually started. Fine; Monday is the day I usually go into work a bit later. I wasn’t in a rush, so refusing to be frazzled, I reset the machine, checked the water, and wandered back into the bedroom to check my e-mail while my fresh, fragrant elixir of consciousness brewed. I sifted through my mail until I heard the percolation process winding down. I retrieved my mug, added cream and sugar, took my first much-anticipated sip and…*splutter*. Horror of horrors! I was sipping boiling water laced with cream and sugar. Note to self: when making coffee, the desired result is usually best obtained if you actually add the…coffee! I was now approaching half an hour of being mobile and semi-conscious without caffeine. My limit is usually somewhere around ten minutes, and this is on an exceptionally slow day. So: dump the mess in the sink; reset the coffeemaker; lather, rinse, repeat. They say third time’s the charm, and thankfully that statistic proved accurate in this case, as I was fast-approaching under caffeinated, premenstrual, homicidal psychobitch.

To make a long story short, I have to agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Isherwood here; the implication that mornings (or at least Monday mornings)are good is a highly questionable one, and I’m thoroughly convinced that there’s a niche in the market for a coffee machine with an attached hand that reaches out to slap the under caffeinated human who is negligent enough to forget to add coffee before attempting to brew any, or even better, one that will conveniently add the essential forgotten ingredient, and possibly deliver it to the caffeine addict on a tray, Jetsons-style.

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4 Comments »

  1. John said

    The way this day started for me, I felt very much the same. Thankfully it got better with the rising sun, though. Smiles It sometimes takes a while to get the brain connected and running.

    • poetprodigy7 said

      Yes; mine improved as well, but it was touch and go there for a while. 😉

  2. Anthony Cheney said

    Fran, this is Anthony Cheney. I linked out into your blog from Facebook, and I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself how you connected “A Single Man” to the need of caffeine on a Monday morning. Hope you’re doing well!!!!!!! AC

    • poetprodigy7 said

      Well, I associate a lot of things with “A Single Man”; great novel, great movie, enough said.

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