A Rude Awakening

By Dave Fox

I have only been out of bed for 40 minutes, which means two things:

1) I should not be blogging yet. It is too early for me to be coherent.

2) You should not read my blog. You will not like me this early in the morning.

I had a dream overnight that an organization surprised me with a $4,416 travel grant. It was a delightful dream. But then I woke up and realized it was only a dream. Sometimes, the aftermath of a delightful dream can really suck.

I do not know why the grant in my dream was for $4,416. I also do not know why I was able to remember the exact amount, $4,416, after I woke up. Usually, I cannot remember anything in the morning. Or the afternoon or the evening. But especially in the morning.

For example, after sobbing in bed for several minutes over the fact that I was not going to get my $4,416, I decided it was time to get up and sob in an upright position. I sobbed my way into the kitchen. I turned on the espresso maker. Then I walked into my office. Then I realized I had forgotten to make my espresso.

I went back to the kitchen. I attempted to operate my espresso machine. It’s one of those Nespresso pod systems that does virtually everything for you and does not leave your kitchen counter slathered in espresso grinds. I love my Nespresso machine. It is an easy enough contraption that I can usually operate it, even in a caffeine-deprived state. Unless it gets an air bubble.

The water canister was empty. So I refilled it. Then I attempted to make my espresso. But when I pressed the button that makes the espresso flow from the spiggot, espresso did not flow from the spiggot. The only thing that came out of my Nespresso machine was a loud noise.

This has happened a couple of times before. My wife, Kattina, told me once it’s because there’s an air bubble in the system. She said she read that in the instruction manual. She also said she read in the instruction manual how to fix this problem.

So I opened the instruction manual. I looked for the part about air bubbles. I could not find anything about air bubbles. All I could find was a warning that while going away on holiday, one should empty the water canister to prevent the formation of frost. Because, you know, here in Singapore, where the low temperature rarely dips below 24 degrees Celcius (which is like 197 degrees Fahrenheit), apparently frost on one’s coffee maker can still be a problem.

The instruction manual also included this important safety precaution:

“This appliance is designed to be used in household and similar applications such as: staff kitchen areas in shops, offices and other working environments; farm houses; by clients in hotels; motels and other residential type environments; bed and breakfast type environments.

“Do not use the appliance for other than intended use.”

I could not, however, find any information about air bubble removal. This might be because, in skimming the instructions in my early morning state, I think I might have drifted into the Chinese part of the instructions. I have not yet learned the Chinese character for “air bubble.”

I eventually got my coffee to flow. Momentarily happy, I stumbled back to my office to get to work.

I don’t usually begin work this early in the morning, but I have a deadline today. I was up late last night, writing about Kalahari Bushmen. I was up sufficiently late that my eyes glazed over and I could no longer function. So at half past midnight, I said to myself, “Go to bed, Dave. Wake up early tomorrow and finish your article then.”

So now I have done that. My eyes are still glazed over. I am still unable to function.

I opened my windows to let a breeze in before the temperature rises above 24 degrees. (Celcius.) The birds were chirping more loudly than usual.

I don’t know what it is about Singapore birds, but they are more boisterous than American birds. And more musical. They are exceptionally perky in the morning. Perhaps this is because they have purchased the deluxe model Nespresso machine. Perhaps the deluxe model Nespresso machine does not get air bubbles. I don’t know.

It was time for me to get to work. But I was distracted by something that distracts me here from time to time. Here in the tropics, one faces different health problems from those in Seattle, where I used to live. For example, that thin hinge of skin, where the back of my ears connect to my head, the place that holds up my glasses, sometimes gets dry and itchy. I needed to do something about that before I started writing. I cannot write about Kalahari Bushmen when I have itchy skin behind my ears.

So I stumbled to the bathroom. I rubbed tea tree oil behind my ears. Then I stumbled back to my office. I sat down to write.

But something was missing. It was my glasses. I had taken them off so I could apply tea tree oil.

Or had I? Maybe I had never put them on in the first place. But they were not on my desk.

I stumbled back to the bathroom to look for them. I could not find them in the bathroom. I stumbled back to my office to check my desk again. They were not on my desk. I stumbled back to my bathroom. They were still not there.

I looked in my bedroom. Maybe I had put them on my dresser. But they were not on my dresser. I looked around my office some more. They were not there.I checked by my Nespresso machine. No glasses.

I went to check my bathroom a third time. Then I checked my bedroom again. I found them.

Before entering my bathroom to apply tea tree oil, I had set my glasses on my mattress. Now, as I put them back on my head, I made a mental note that the next time I look for my glasses in my bedroom, finding them will be easier if I turn on the light first.

Speaking of light, the sun eventually came up. The birds quieted down. The Singaporean national anthem blared from loudspeakers at the school across the street. It was really time to get to work.

But before I did, I did what all freelance writers do when faced with a looming deadline. I checked my e-mail. I checked Twitter, and Facebook.

On Facebook, I had a threatening message from my book editor, Linda. Linda wanted me to know that she would not send me any birthday greetings until I wrote the conclusion of last week’s story on my blog about apartment hunting in Singapore.

Personal note to Linda:

1) I have a deadline today. I have to finish my article about the Kalahari Bushmen. I do not have time to blog.

2) It is not my birthday yet.

3) When it is my birthday, I do not want wishes. I want presents. I want $4,416.

[Photos: “Dollars” by Tracy Olson – “Espresso” by Leking Smith]
Published on Wednesday, October 5, 2011

2 Responses to “A Rude Awakening”

  1. Dan - the big one
    October 26, 2011 at 9:59 PM

    Air bubble: 空氣泡沫 – kong qi pao mo
    Maybe that will help you solve the machine of evil and horror!
    Xie xie (thanks),
    Dan (the big one, from Seattle)

  2. Faith Earnest
    November 8, 2011 at 11:04 AM

    Dearest Dave, my father was the former ruler of a state in Africa which you have never heard of, and we need your help to take out millions of dollars of our wealth held in our country. Last year my father’s regime was ended, and the country has been taken over by rebels and former Enron employees.
    If you send us your bank account details, credit card details and pin numbers, you can earn $4,416. We trust you deeply.

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