Most folks enjoy coffee in the morning. “Most” is accurate.

Most folks enjoy coffee in the morning. “Most” is accurate.  According to statistics, about 100 million folks in America are daily coffee drinkers; percentagewise, that is over 50%.  Therefore, “most” is accurate.

It seems like a lot of people have turned to those single serving coffee machines with the little plastic cups that not only allow you make coffee on a whim, but also tea and hot chocolate.  I have one of those, but the cost still bothers me a little.

I’m one of those people who will check the coffee pot for leftovers late at night and if there is any, I’ll put it in the microwave.  I’ve also heard of folks keeping leftover coffee in the refrigerator.  That makes sense, but I will usually drink it all by the end of the day anyway.

At work, it’s a different story.  The fellow who made our coffee finally retired.  You know how it is; there is usually one person who is in charge of the coffee making.  Sometimes, it’s a matter of pride or possibly even job security.  The retired fellow’s coffee was actually not good.  I’m not being honest – it was terrible, but I drank it.

After he was gone, I found that “things can get worse.”  The next person in charge of the coffee made much worse coffee than the gentleman who retired.  It was so bad that it forced me to another floor of my building.

The folks one floor below don’t mind me coming down there; new paying customers are always welcome in an office coffee pool.  There will always be those who don’t pay.

There was the added bonus that the downstairs coffee was only 20 cents.  Their coffee is really not that good either, but I do not think that it will cause as much damage as the stuff on my floor.   Also, the clientele one floor below is a little more interesting.  They are more reclusive than my co-workers on my floor of the building.  In other words, they let you get your coffee and get out rather than engaging you in a conversation about politics or planar fasciitis.

Everyone has their own way of collecting money for the office coffee.  Downstairs, they simply have a red metal box with a little lock on it and one slot on the top to drop your money.  For the first few months, there was one older gentleman, who is affectionately known as “Santa Claus” who would wander in when I was getting my coffee.

Santa Claus never said much; sometimes he would grunt or just mumble.  It wasn’t an unhappy grunt; I think he was just trying to make conversation.  I’m sure that he has a Ph.D. in something very impressive and is doing some very important research.

Seeing him walking down the hall one day behind me, I decided to have a little fun.  As he came into the kitchen, I poured a cup of coffee and put my quarter in the red metal box.  Then I stood staring at the red metal box.  The red metal box has a little black and white plastic frog glued to the top.

The Santa Claus fellow seemed to be getting anxious.  I continued to stand there in front of the coffee pot, staring at the red metal box.  I waited a while longer.  Finally, Santa Claus let go of a good grunt.  I’m pretty sure the translation of the grunt would be, “Please move, I want my coffee now.”

I got down for a close examination of the red metal box as if to talk to the black and white plastic frog.  Then I calmly said, “I put a quarter in there and it still has not given me a nickel back.”  

Then Santa Claus spoke and I could understand him.  He said, “I don’t think it will.”   I did my best to look confused and I took my coffee and left.

It was a good day; I got Santa Claus to talk.  I’m sure he thinks I’m a nut, but that’s ok.

In the weeks that followed, the black and white plastic frog on the top of the little red metal box disappeared, coffee downstairs went up to 25 cents and then the frog reappeared.   Santa Claus could be trying to tell me something or perhaps he was trying to lessen my anxiety about the red metal box not giving change.

I’m not so sure about what happened to the plastic frog, the coffee seems a little better downstairs, perhaps he had been swimming in the pot and finally got out.

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