Coffee is a way of life. In fact, it IS life as far as I’m concerned.
I started drinking the stuff when I was ten, even though it came from a five-pound can of Folgers decidedly not-French roast, and was nothing more than sludgy water with milk. But it was my sludge of choice.
So as the years passed, I gradually edged closer toward my current coffee snob status with full enthusiasm. From the discovery of stovetop brewed Turkish coffee in college, to grinding my own beans from New York City’s Zabar’s coffee haven in my twenties, each new caffeinated discovery brought me closer to a deeper understanding of the religion of coffee and a oneness with the Goddess Caffeina.
So I was completely content with my Cuisinart coffee maker, when one day the husband came home extolling the virtues of the new and amazing coffee brewing technological advancement his client had just brewed him a cup of joe from. Claiming it was the hottest, most flavorful, aromatic coffee he’d ever tasted, I knew we had to get a piece of this action in order to realize true, hot beverage Nirvana.
This most coveted gift from the gods was called Keurig, a cup-at-a-time brewmeister that turned pre-filled K-cups of just about any flavor imaginable into the kind of beverage dreams are made of. From coffee to tea, hot chocolate to apple cider, I could be the envy of all who would bear witness to this revolutionary appliance holding court in my kitchen.
Something to brag about.
Boasting for the roasting.
We quickly secured one for ourselves and commenced the brewing of vast quantities of caffeinated bliss. So much bliss, that I swear I danced on the ceiling even without Lionel Ritchie streaming through my sound system.
Before Keurig, I had only thought my life was full. But I soon realized that wasn’t living...I had been going through the motions in black and white.
But now....NOW my life was filled to the brim. I was finally really living; in color. Colors were more vivid than I ever could have imagined, food tasted better, indeed the coffee did, and life was sweeter than ever before.
That is, until tragedy struck.
One morning not unlike any other, sliding my mug onto the brew platform and popping a coconut macadamia K-cup into the machine, I hit the “brew” button in sweet anticipation of being brought back to rapturous consciousness, when…
This was not the usual full-on cascade of liquid gold, but a sad, hesitant fail.
I unplugged, replugged, and hit “brew” again. Nothing. No cascade, no drip, just the disturbing droning sound of an appliance in distress.
Mayday! I panicked. What NOW? How would I regain consciousness? How would we make it through the day without this life giving force?
I pored over the instruction manual for answers. Poking at it failed to unclog its pours, and three vinegar and water coffee machine douches later, I was inconsolable.
My beloved Keurig was dead. And I killed it.
I took to my bed. But I could not awaken from this hellish nightmare. After all, at that point there was zero chance I was ever going to be alert.
When at last I was finally able to stare fate in its cold, decaffeinated face, I realized that this was a job for customer service.
Frantically, I tapped the digits into my phone, answering the audible prompts with the utmost urgency: “ONE!” “YES!” “TROUBLE SHOOTING!” And after ten excruciating minutes that felt like a lifetime of pain and suffering in some third world country without fresh brewed coffee, the voice of salvation appeared. The voice of my café guardian angel was calm, gentle and reassuring. Sensing that I was thoroughly distraught, she talked me down off my ledge of despair in broken english like a tenured 911 operator.
“Aldright. Tell me yourd seedial numbuh.”
“My what?”
“Yourd seedial numbuh.”
My seedial numbuh? Oh! You mean serial number?”
“Oh my God! I don’t know. Where is it?”
“You will find dee seedial numbuh in dee bock of dee matcheeeen.”
This woman was so there for me in my time of need. She spoke words of barely indecipherable encouragement and salvation, breathing new life into my then, limp, un-caffeinated body; indeed, into my soul.
You must find a papah cleep.”
“A papah cleep. Pay-pah-cleep.”
“Oh! A Paper clip?”
“Yes! Papah cleep.”
“But I tried the paper clip. It didn’t work!”
“Leesten to me. You must find a papah cleep. It weeel worduck.”
“But…but…I used my last paper clip and it’s bent and useless, and I don’t know…I…I might have another one, but I don’t know where…”
My voice trailed off as all hope was fading like Monica Lewinsky’s blue dress after several dry cleanings. Apologizing profusely for wasting her time, I offered to call her back once I found one.  But no. She was in this for the long haul.
“I am hered to make surud you geet yourd Keudig worducking and I weell wait on de line weed you unteel you find a papah cleep.”
“Oh my God, thank you. You don’t understand, I could not live without my Keurig.”
“Oh, but I do underuhstand. I could not leeeve widout my Keudig.”
Wow. And she really was from a third world country. This was a first-world, third-world convergence; full-on solidarity. I had found my coffee soul sister.
And so it was that she waited for me. Patiently. She waited while I rummaged through kitchen drawers, tore apart my office and ransacked the kids’ school supplies, speaking to me all the while in the same broken, yet reassuring timbre.
“Dōn wordee. I weeel stay on dee line.”
“It’s just that, I drink coffee all the time. And now I’m used to this coffee. I…I can’t…”
“I underuhstand. Me too.”
I appreciated the sentiment, but somehow I didn’t believe her. She was too calm.
“I FOUND IT! I found a paper clip!!” I exclaimed with a rush of jubilation.
There is was, wedged under a baseboard in the hall, next to the bathroom, one lone paper clip. My salvation. I yanked it out with all my might, blew the dust and dog hair off of it and held it in the air triumphantly.
What transpired next was a delicate balance of negotiation as she talked me through painstaking maneuvers involving a series of holes in the machine, holes I didn’t know existed, in an attempt to unclog and free them of unrepentant residue.
It was only after repeated poking, purging and feverish tutelage, that the impacted grounds could be freed.
And all the while, she got me, you know? The way only true compadres do.
We bonded that day, across the miles, through a shared appreciation of technology and hot beverages. Together, what we experienced was a true International Coffee Moment.
I was all up in Keurig’s business, covered in coffee sludge, blathering away, seemingly to no one, when Kevin walked in.
“What are you doing? Who are you talking to? Really? You called customer service?” he mocked.
“You want Keurig to work again, don’t you?” I hissed.
“We could just buy another one” he offered.
“NO! Ihsan and I have already put too much into this one! It deserves a second chance. We deserve a second chance.”
“Sird, I am comeeted to serduveeng you. I have helped others. They have brewed again. I promeese you weel brew again,” my faithful, trouble-shooting companion assured him.
He just rolled his eyes and went upstairs.
But who had the last laugh and the first freshly brewed cup of coffee when the crisis was finally averted?
This gal, that’s who.
Before we parted ways, most likely never to speak again, Ihsan (which is Persian for “compassion”, by the way) told me to be sure to douche the machine every month so this would never happen again.
And I figure what’s a gallon of vinegar every thirty days if one wants to go on living? And I mean really living.


Linda Roy is a writer/musician whose "funny with a soundtrack" humor blog mixes humorous essays with comical songs. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and two boys who swear she’s the female Larry David. A BlogHer Voice of the Year for Humor, she is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post and Humor Outcasts. Her work has been featured on numerous websites, including Scary Mommy, In the Powder Room, Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, BLUNT Moms and BlogHer. She is co-author of several anthologies, including the third book in the New York Times bestselling "Pee Alone" series, I STILL Just Want To Pee Alone, as well as the bestselling The Bigger Book of Parenting Tweets, and Surviving Mental Illness Through Humor. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ and check out her music ones on YouTube. No wonder her family is always running out of clean underwear.


Twitter: @lindaroywrites