Insomnia working overtime this morning, I decided what the heck1 – I’d start a pot of coffee. Too, maybe sit down and noodle-out a few words destined to fulfill my MWF blog commitment. Golly, maybe even settle down to finally finish the first draft of Midas County.
Midas County probably won’t happen because I’m fascinated by a new effort, a really short short story. Finder entertains me with humorous possibility. Then again, reflecting, when something amuses me, others I manage to convince to read it break their jaws yawning.
Sitting at the keyboard waiting for the coffee pot2 to finish business at a few minutes after three in the morning, I checked email. There was nothing of significance. A couple of news feeds. The daily four-article diet and health bulletin which has deteriorated over the last year into an unabashed vehicle for adverts. Because it is a reliable source of the latest coffee-is-good-for-you, no, coffee-is-bad-for-you seesaw report from Melwagga Veterinary and Diesel Polytechnic, I’ve not unsubscribed.
In the way of follow-up, I’m now down to four correspondents in my “don’t-forget” list. Happily, none of the latest disappearances for untimely or unfortunate passing. Most are simply too busy with picture-pretty social pages and worry over whether Zippy-Doo-Dah Cruise Lines will be able to honor the tickets they purchased through AAOF&G3 two years ago before their children hustle them off to Sleepy Manor Continuing Adult Care and Bingo Parlor.
Ah, yes! The coffee! Soon! I could smell it! “Ping!” from the kitchen. Ah, my coffee was ready. “Ping?”
In the kitchen I discovered the pot less than one-quarter full of elixir. Contemplating the source of that unmistakable “Ping!” I ruled-out my cell phone. That was still on the nightstand beside my abandoned pillow. The refrigerator stood there in the kitchen, non-committal, no “Door open!” alert, no “Change filter!” notice. The microwave behind me wisely still slept, its time display on dim. Couldn’t be the coffee machine. It doesn’t ping, it “Beep-beep-beeps” like a heart monitor. Which is fitting, I think.
Another “Ping!” Ping?
The two-by-two-inch coffee machine console screen blinked “Incoming message.” What the hey? The background light dimmed. The time display returned. Three-oh-nine. Nuts. I didn’t really see that. Did I? Too much coffee, too little sleep. Or not enough coffee. Admittedly, I was perplexed. Not about the coffee, too much or too little, I was ready for a cup. What bothered me was the display. “Incoming message.” On my coffee machine?
“Ping! Incoming message.” No mistake.
There are only three buttons on the coffee machine. None of them labeled “Read email” or “Delete message” and obviously no keypad so outgoing email composition was iffy. I made the mistake of lightly tapping the display screen. A menu appeared suggesting “Read email, A/C thermostat readings, front door lock controls, security system options, and truck maintenance sensor results.” Obviously, the display was touch sensitive. I poked at “Read email.”
Ben Awhile, you remember Ben, back in July you met him in “Communications Breakdown” wanted to know if I had time to chat on the phone this afternoon. “Urgent,” he wrote, “all the da**** electronics in my house display UNIX/LINUX, MarcoSwooft, or Fruity logos and insist on passwords before they make toast, flush, allow me to select which MSM news is on television, my game console wants to run a security scan, and the home security monitor thinks my BP is elevated.”
I hesitated and murmured, “Well, I’ll be a sonova…” but was interrupted when the “Read email display” morphed into a keypad with a “Reply to BenA6127@largefont.ogn” already started, suggesting I respond with “Sounds good to me!”
An hour and one-half later, the Boss now awake, I could start my morning make-pretty routine. Approaching my sink in the master bath, my water-flosser greeted me: “Ding, ding, ding!” and the Pulse Strength/Mode display read “New email from MU National.”
I worried. I had planned to replace a piece of molding in the garage. That meant a face-to-face with my laser-guided radial saw…
1 “Heck.” You know what I mean. I’m not certain who I disrespect more that I am compelled to self-sensor this way. You for being such prudes, especially when I’ve heard more than one or two pruders run-off pretty interesting blue-tinged epithets on many, many occasions. Probably me, for letting myself be bullied into first believing editing would encourage greater readership, and second, for fictionalizing clinical life-observations.
2 It’s technically not a pot. A for-real coffee-pot is just that, a pot. What I mean here, is the coffee machine you put grounds and coffee into, write an APL program to control, and wait while it heats, dribbles, and ultimately fills the coffee pot. Calling it a coffee machine doesn’t seem correct because it has no moving parts. When I think of a coffee machine, I recall a vending device that swallows a mittful of quarters before producing something dark and insanely hot for thirty-two seconds that smells like horse liniment. That machine provides mild entertainment, too. You guess if the machine will manage to drop the cup into the portal before it starts its half-hearted tinkle. Nothing you can do about it if no cup is dispensed before the coffee-ish liquid, but it’s the anticipation, you know? You’ve seen these machines. The ones in the basement of the building where the computer department (and its people) are exiled. It’s the machine you patronize at 3 AM when you’re debugging a communications system that absolutely must go production in two weeks.
3 AAOF&G Amalgamated American Old Farts and Geezers. Good deals on travel, hearing aids, “Help me, my pussy has a hairball,” deeply discounted costume jewelry, and state-of-the art medical devices like copper bracelets, crystal pendants, Incan incense, space-tech Velcro strap therapy sneakers, and hand-clap automation.