I’m reading some Thomas Merton these days and thinking maybe it will somehow rub off. Maybe I’ll become a nicer person – more at peace – less pissed off.
And there’s a sweet little old lady waiting for her ride in the lobby. So I say “Can I get you anything? Would you like a cup of coffee?” And she says she would – she’d like half a cup. Can I do that? So I say “I can make a full cup and pour half out!” And I say it with enthusiasm too, like I really am excited to do this for her. I say it as if I’ve been waiting all day for someone to ask me to do just this.
As I head back to the kitchen she says “And I like it weak.” And I’m all like “What the fuck?” What’s the point of weak coffee? Just drink tea then, or water. But then the ghost of Thomas Merton floats before me because after all it’s Halloween.
I look in the cupboard where someone has successfully been hoarding K-cups. I see dark bold, donut house, half caf, vanilla biscotti, chocolate donut. I pick the least offensive one, a mild roast, brew it up and take it to her with a little napkin and she says again how she likes it weak.
“Well, we have a Keurig,” I say. She says “I hate those. I got rid of mine. That coffee is too strong.” I say “Well you might not like this then. ” She tastes it and says “Wow! That will put hair on your chest. The way my son makes it is he makes the coffee and adds hot water to it.” And instead of throwing the scalding coffee in her face, the ghost of Thomas Merton makes me say “Do you want me to do that? I can add hot water to it. ” “Oh would you? Do you like coffee? I like coffee.” But of course really she doesn’t. She likes water mixed with a little coffee.
I take the coffee back to the kitchen, pour half of it out and add hot water. It still looks like black coffee but I know it tastes like water dredged up from the bottom of a river. I take it back to her and she’s still being all tiny and sweet and I notice she can hardly even move because she’s so old. I smile and laugh a lot and say she’s lucky to have a son who knows how to make perfect coffee the way she likes it (God bless him).
A little while later she leaves. I go pick up the cup and it’s still half full of coffee. And it was only half full to begin with because she specifically asked for only half a cup. She didn’t drink any of it. I’ll never know if it’s because the coffee was still too strong and not watery enough, or it it’s because her son came before she had a chance to drink it. And I guess it doesn’t really matter.