The other morning I woke up badly in need of coffee. It had been a long night of barking dogs in Yunguilla (part of the occasional “joy” of having a house in the country).
I stumbled out to the kitchen and prepared a 6-cup batch of Joe, and went and turned on the shower, figuring I would have a hot, steaming cup of one of God’s gifts to man when I finished my morning bathing routine.
But my day was not to start off so well. When I got dried off and headed into the kitchen, I found a coffee pot filled with 2 cups of Joe, and an orange kitchen rug that had a nice Rorschach-style lake of coffee sitting on it.
Apparently my cheap Coral coffee-maker had a somewhat less than one-year lifespan to it. It had decided halfway through brewing that it liked the idea of sending the scalding black water out of the bottom of the machine rather than through the top and onward into the coffee pot.
Well, I counted myself lucky that at least I could get that first large cup into me so that I had the energy to clean the rug. Afterwards, I pulled out our back-up coffee maker to brew another pot for myself and Codie (for when she got out of the shower). But of course it couldn’t be that easy.
You see the first coffee pot used a coffee filter that was shaped like a cone with a flattened end. The second one used paper filters. Which I didn’t have. I had two coffee makers but only one filter that was useless in what would (I hoped anyway) be my actual working coffee maker.
So I had to resort to the old standard back up filter…the paper towel. It had always worked for me in college, so I had no reason to think it wouldn’t work for me in my quest for a full pot of coffee that morning. But I didn’t take into account that my Ecuadorian paper towels were not quite as efficient as the ones I used in my youth.
I did get a pot of coffee though this new filter, but it came with a lot of grounds. The paper towel filter had worked enough to get me more of my morning fix, but it just didn’t keep out all of the bad stuff.
Nonetheless, at that point I settled for what I had and told myself that sometimes you just have to take what the filters give you.
It was a good lesson for me that helped me put things into better perspective this week. You see, after last week’s column, we received what may have been a record number of comments. And my request that the haters stop being critical of others (because they think they are smarter than them) just fell on deaf ears. They didn’t use their names and they didn’t stop from calling other people stupid.
And it’s really a shame. Because like my final cup of Joe, all of us got here after many filters being applied to us. We are all a unique group of people. We came from all walks of life, many different places and with many different views.
Yet, there was something inside all of us that drove us to become expatriates. Something that made us unique from almost everyone we knew in our former lives. We got filtered out among our circle of acquaintances and deiced to leave our home countries. Then we got filtered again to decide that Latin America would be where we headed. And again filtered to get to Ecuador and again to get to Cuenca.
We came though so many filters to get here. So we are all SO MUCH ALIKE in the really, really, big and important things. But at the very last filtering, before we got poured into this cup of Azuay’ s mountains, some of us came out from the top and ended up in the pot and some of us landed in the lake on the rug.
And that is what is stupid. There is no reason we can’t all be civil to each other, because we are all part of the same batch. We are all expatriates and that should bring us closer to each other than anything else that separates us. And while someone will call me “Pollyannaish” again, I simply don’t see why political views or anything else should cause some of us to be so rude, obnoxious and boorish to each other.
But I’m going to keep fighting against it, because I think it is worth doing. So, the next time you might feel like telling me I’m a jerk or an ass, how about stopping by the restaurant and having a cup of Joe with me? We can have a civil discussion and maybe agree to disagree or maybe, just maybe, see that we have more common ground than not. That would be cool.
I’m just sayin.’