It was a low and agonizing moan, a sort of desperate sound that no one wants to hear, especially at six in the morning when it should be dark and quiet in the loft where I had twenty-more-minutes before I had to get up.
Twenty more minutes and there it was again. It was coming from the kitchen.
“Ohhhh, noooooaaa. Noooooaaa. Lord. Why? Whhhhyyy?”
It was my husband. The only other living thing in this house that can form words and the only other living thing in this house that would attempt to stand upright and form them in the hour before the sun arrives.
I’d never heard this sound before. I searched my sleepy mind for what could possibly be wrong:
An work disaster email?
A giant dog poop?
A dishwasher/washing machine/sink explosion?
Maybe we left a door open and that damn squirrel set up shop in our cupboards? Or a turkey. A turkey could have gotten in. They’ve been knocking on our door all month.
Or an alien. Never rule out the aliens.
Or a robber. We were sleeping pretty hard up there, I mean, maybe we didn’t hear him.
Maybe he’s still down there.
Oh Lord, I haven’t heard another moan for a good three minutes. I could have a hostage situation on my hands.
Where’s the phone?
Where are my pants?
Where’s that baseball bat I don’t own?
I swung my legs over the bed and snuck toward the door of the bedroom, peeking my head out and over the loft to quietly assess the situation.
What I discovered was worse than anything I could have conjured up.
No. We weren’t being robbed. There was no intruder, furry or feathered or otherwise.
Nothing was flooding or exploding or pooping.
No. No. No. No.
The. coffee. pot. was. broken.
I heard another groan. A similar low, agonizing growl, but this time it was coming from a wild haired, pants-less woman leaning over the edge of the staircase clutching her heart with the realization that she had just become powerless against the perils of early morning at the ranch while staring at a horrified man in middle of his own stunning realization.
We looked at each other, my mouth agape and his forming the silent, whimpering words “I’m sorry. I’m so. so. sorry.”
At that moment we would have taken the alien.
You think I’m over-exaggerating. You say to me, no big deal. Just grab some coffee from a gas station or a coffee shop on your way to work and pick up a new pot on your way home. You’ll make it.
But I tell you you don’t understand.
The only thing worse than the absence of coffee in the wee and vulnerable morning hours at the ranch is the absence of toilet paper in the middle of a vulnerable night. You know what I’m saying?
Because unless we want to disturb our neighbors’ early morning ritual, seriously, the closest cup of coffee is twenty-five miles away.
That means we have to drive, groggy and impaired behind oil trucks, service pickups, moms in SUVs and school busses carrying precious cargo before we even had the chance to properly fuel our veins. And once we finally arrive at a gas station or a coffee shop we have to stand in line behind fifteen people who are buying gas or muffins or beef jerky or aspirin or TEA FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! WHO DRINKS TEA? WHAT’S EVEN IN TEA? LEAVES? SOGGY HERBS? I DON’T GET IT! TEA IS A NON-ESSENTAIL ITEM! THESE ARE NON-ESSENTIAL ITEMS!
COFFEE DRINKERS UNITE! IT’S 7:30 AM AND WE HAVEN’T HAD A SIP.
IT’S 7:30 AM–WE’RE MOVING TO THE FRONT OF THE LINE!!!
See what I’m saying.
Without coffee the two of us become an environmental hazard.
It really was serious. But it wasn’t all my careless husband’s fault. I should have been prepared. When you live out here with the wild turkeys you shouldn’t leave yourself vulnerable to these disasters.
Before the fire hit the little ranch house and we moved to the new place I had three additional coffee sources on hand to sustain us through power outages, broken or faulty equipment and carelessness. No electricity? It’s fine, we have a propane stove and a camp percolator. Broken coffee pot? No big deal, there’s an extra downstairs.
Want to get fancy with the beans? Great! Let’s use the french press!
We were safe then. We were secure.
Then there was a fire and we got distracted with things like, you know, building shelter for our bodies and our earthly possessions, and some important things fell by the wayside.
Important things like backup coffee pots.
How could I be so negligent? How could I forget about the essentials? How could I be so ill prepared?
It doesn’t matter now. My lesson’s learned. Never again will I be left standing sleepy-eyed, pants-less and horrified in my own home.
Never again will I put the lives of the innocent children in danger.
Never again will I allow a simple mistake like the slip of a hand leave me stranded and powerless in the face of an early morning and long work day.
Fed-Ex lady, I hope it doesn’t snow next week, because there’s going to be some big shipments coming in.
Because today I’m clearing out a space in the basement and Googling “Coffee Pots,” and, well, I guess I’ll be seeing you soon.
Peace, Love and, you guessed it, Coffee,