It’s been a rather off term: classes that promised to be fascinating turned out to be slow paced, filled with more than the usual number of unenthusiastic students, or went far too late in the night. Grad application consumed much free time (and the peace of mind for those around me). Only one of my students read The Duchess of Malfi for seminar. Through all of this frustration, apathy, and lack of sleep, however, one person has remained constant and nurturing:
Alright, so it’s more of a coffee grinder than a person. Still, the point about constancy and nurturing remains. [i]
Industrial coffee grinders waste whole beans to dust in thirty seconds, and allow one to brew up to an entire pot of percolated coffee all at once. My tiny manual coffee-grinder, however, has a heart. It can only grind enough for a small French press (about one and a half cups), a quality which, combined with the knowledge that I’ll have to regrind more beans if I want another Bodum’s-worth, has forced me to limit my coffee intake: I sleep better at night and feel just a little less frantic during the day.
“But wise English Undergraduate [I know you’re thinking], doesn’t the process of grinding your own coffee take twenty or thirty minutes away from your schedule, which is obviously already overloaded considering you couldn’t spare the time to write for the whole of November?”
Yes, isn’t this exactly one of its refreshing charms? Especially in November when it seems every other day there’s a new assignment due or batch of papers to be marked, and it’s entirely too easy to spend entire days and nights in front of a page or a computer (a pleasant enough experience on its own, but exhausting when done for hours, with a deadline impending), the seven or eight process of grinding coffee at the beginning of each morning becomes a valuable space to mull things over casually, leisurely.
My coffee grinder is a counter hegemonic apparatus.[ii]
[i] nurturing remains. Despite Gaurav’s constant mockery and refusal of my generous offer of a second coffee grinder I ever so thoughtfully picked up just for him.
[ii] hegemonic apparatus. Meanwhile Gaurav relies on store ground coffee, reducing his morning beverage to nothing but a tool-produced commodity.
Now that’s pretension.
1 December 2008 ~ St. Catharines