The more astute amongst you may have noticed that in my recent post on “Coffee and Pandas“, the title characters – “The Pandas” – didn’t feature particularly heavily in the actual article itself.
Of course, many of you wouldn’t have noticed anything special about Pandas apart from the cute panda picture at the start.
That’s probably being a bit liberal with the word “many” – as “many” is a subset of a universal set “people with nothing better to do” that read this blog. Come to think of it, the strict definition of the universal set I have used (the bit in quotes) is a bit lax too – as it would include quite a large percentage of the world’s populace. My hit counter doesn’t support such a position… unless it has flicked back around to zero a couple of times. That must have been what has happened.
We should also consider the intersect of those that did spot that pandas were not in my article, but know me well enough to be aware that, from time to time, I will freely hazard a panda or two for no rational or explicable reason – and so they choose not to comment.
I don’t particularly like pandas, by the way. They just seem a little less threatening than grizzlies and are more obstinate than teddies.
Oh, and if you are browsing this article for technical content – the bit about set theory above is about as far as this one goes. Note that I have filed it under by “Whimsical” category to indicate that it includes no useful content of any sort.
Anyway, I did start the previous article with pandas in mind. But as is oft the case, I found myself wrapped up in so much of the preamble, that I never made it to the bit about pandas. And this entry seems to be heading in the same direction. Although, technically, there is quite a lot about pandas already. Just not the bits that I had in mind at the start. Of the previous article. And this one.
Back to coffee (don’t worry, I am sure the pandas are on the way). So I go to the coffee machine. This is a different occasion to my previous coffee social disaster – and this time, there is no one at the coffee machine. No opportunity to redefine the boundaries of polite conversation – just me, the coffee machine and 60p in exact change.
I put a 50p coin in to the machine. It drops straight through to the coin return. I’m not exactly cognisant as this is early in the day so as a reflex reaction I scoop up the coin and pop it back in. It drops straight through to the coin return. Again.
Somewhere in a cortex or some kind of lobe – electrons dance around and blow raspberries at each other.
I don’t have another 50p – but I do have a cunning plan. If I can entice the machine to accept a 10p, maybe it will get greedy and swallow the 50p quickly afterwards. There is no technological or rational explanation for why this should work. But, admit it – you have fallen for this appealing logic yourself, haven’t you? Well, if not – perhaps a slight deviation of it. This includes warming a coin up with your hands, blowing on it, licking it or giving it a little back spin with your finger as you pop it in. I really hope that no one quotes me on this out of context.
I confidently pop the 10p in to the coffee machine.
It drops straight through to the coin return.
One day – just one day – you would think I might get coffee without social anxiety or a nasty metallic taste on my tongue.
A sudden thought occurs before I resort to consuming small change. Maybe something written on the front of the coffee machine might offer some helpful advice?
Before you scoff – have you ever read the instructions on a coffee machine? No?
Well, although we all take coffee machines for granted, they are advanced devices managing harmful, noxious and searing substances to channel them in to polyurethane conical receptors which are transitioned across a failsafe hazard interface. It has taken decades of painstaking development and refinement to evolve a level of environmental manipulation, artificial intelligence and raw computing power to control all this with such utter sublime subtlety that we can take it for granted. But all the same, I’m sure they read the instructions for the Space Shuttle before take off.
I scan the instructions and notice the words “Insert Mug” on the coffee machine display.
How absolutely bloody stupid. And what is that supposed to mean anyway? Is it inviting me to squeeze my face past the drip dray? I certainly feel like a mug. Is it any wonder that people get themselves killed with these idiotic contraptions?!!!?!
That’s when I notice the stack of thick foamy cups next to the machine. I’m sure that they weren’t there yesterday. And they are cups for crying out loud.
Now my definition of a mug is a heavy ceramic affair with a suitable loopy handle. Either that, or someone who fails to get coffee out of a perfectly serviceable coffee machine.
I just stand there, confused. Is it a mug, or isn’t it?
“Hi Mark, how’s the coffee?”, a friend chirps in as he walks over.
I have completely no answer.
Damn, damn, damn, damn….