Sunday, February 20, 2011

My Life with Coffee Stains

Why write about coffee stains?  Well, here’s the deal, I have a slight <ahem> reputation at work about my tendency to spill things.  Mainly coffee.  As a result, I have endured - quite well, I might add - many barbs about who gets to sit next to me at a meeting when I have a cup of coffee.  Plus, I’ve laughed along with others when my unfortunate habit is used to keep the mood light and the laughter going at an event (such as at the holiday luncheon).  

The important thing, though, is I can laugh about it.  They’re only joking with me and it happens to be quite true.  One only needs to look at my desk for the unmistakable evidence.  Right now, there are at least two notebooks, in which every page is now bordered on the top and half way down the side with the irrefutable crinkled, yellowed stains.  My desk blotter shows at least a dozen tiny, dried droplets of the brew and I’m sure there is a ring somewhere if someone were to look closely.
Why is this all so funny to my co-workers?  The humor comes from the timing and location of these spills.  Of course this never happens when I’m all by myself!  As an example, when our CFO first came aboard he calls me, another manager and a supervisor into his office to get brought up to speed.  Did I mention I also have the habit of talking with my hands?  I like to say only one hand, because I’m only part Italian – but that has nothing to do with the story.  So, there I am saying something (most likely trying to sound intelligent) and cling – that’s my hand hitting the can of soda on the table.  I reach out and quickly grab the can before it lands completely on its side.  To this day it is argued just how big of a mess was made.  I swear that I caught the can before a drop was spilled.  Everyone else ends the story with the CFO jumping back to avoid being soaked and everything on his table being destroyed.  A bit over the top don’t you think?
I realize that involved a can of soda and not coffee, but that was THE event that set the wheels in motion.  I have come to accept this rep of mine in good humor and over time I have witnessed my co-workers experience coffee disasters of their own - which, yes, I happily point that out every chance I get!  But "coffee stains" is about more than just my spilling inclination.  I really do seem to attract the little suckers – the coffee stains, that is.  I get a new travel mug and lift it to take a sip and somehow coffee drips onto my shirt from under the lid.  Luckily, most times when this happens I can move my badge over the stain and my ID covers it.  From these incidents I have learned to dry the rim of the mug before screwing on the cap.  See, I can adapt.  Although, the one thing I still haven’t learned is to stop trying to convince myself that if I’m really careful – this time – I can take a sip of my coffee while I am walking…need I say more.
The places I have found coffee stains are countless and have me scratching my head; my nook, on pages inside a book, my pants, shoes, coat, car seat…  You get the idea.  It is just one of many things in my life I have accepted will never change.  It is a quirk about me that may not identify me as a whole, but one that hopefully shows people that I’m comfortable with who I am. 

Did you know that coffee stains don’t show up on a copy?