The Shay Rebellion | Christopher Shay

Grounds for an Entry

In my “kitchen,” I have a minifridge underneath my two stove burners. It’s wedged into a space between the sink and the wall, and I have to bend over, almost get onto my knees, to get anything out of it. It’s okay, because I don’t keep much in it—mostly vegetables and tofu—but in the upper-right corner, there’s a freezer big enough for only one very precious item: a bag of Stumptown coffee.

My little bag of coffee has traveled from Sumatra to Portland to Hong Kong, and right now, I only have enough of coffee left for two more cups. It’s the type of coffee used by many of the coffeeshops that I frequented in high school, and its smells like many of my best moments in Portland.

Part of the enjoyment of the morning coffee is the process. Every morning, I pour the grounds in the French press and add boiling water. While I wait for the coffee to steep, the world stands still. For those three to five minutes, it’s my time to do nothing, except to wonder why this particular coffee foams while it steeps while other coffees don’t. This is an important thought that I have almost every morning. When I feel I’ve pondered this enough, I push down the plunger slowly. I somehow feel that the coffee deserves better than to be crushed to the bottom of the glass with swift, violent jerk. After pouring the coffee into my white Ikea mug, I take the tiniest of sips for fear of burning my mouth.

I bend back down and put the coffee bag back in the tiny freezer. I can now start my day. Somehow, coffee can simultaneously slow down life as well as speed it up. I’m about to finish my Stumptown coffee, and though my morning ritual will stay the same, I fear its ability to momentarily transport me to a nostalgic Portland will be gone.