Op-Ed
Published in

Op-Ed

K-cup Calling the Kettle a Coward

Well, I was wrong.

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Grandpa did not hide the coffee from me like I accused him of doing, yesterday. Fortunately, I never approached anyone about it or bitched anywhere other than in my morning journaling. The way I found out: this morning, Grandpa had a doctor’s appointment; one of those appointments where he had to fast over night. By the time I walked into the house, the grands and my mom had already left for the early morning visit. I have to admit that I usually avoid going inside in the morning because I’ve decided I don’t want to let grandpa have control over how my day starts. Honestly, he’s a pretty miserable human being, so he’s just not great to be around (in general but especially) first thing in the morning.

Because I was aware of the fact that Grandpa would not be sitting in his recliner with the television at maximum volume, I went inside. Immediately upon entry I saw a post it note on the Keurig. It read, “Dad, no food or drink except water after 8PM” in my mother’s elegant cursive hand-writing. Out of curiosity, I opened the drawer to see how much coffee was left in the drawer below the coffee maker. TWO PODS. Two K-Cups. Then it occurred to me to look on top of the refrigerator where the box of Maxwell House coffee was absent yesterday. There it was, a full -unopened- box of 96 pods. This indicated to me that no one was hiding coffee from me yesterday. In fact, what had happened was: while I was away for four days in Washington my grandpa had gone through a box of 96 pods of coffee. The one atop the refrigerator was a brand new one to replace the brand new unopened box that was there before I ever left.

For those that are concerned about the environment — I used to try to keep up with the k-cup consumption at this house. I used to try to peel off the foil-tops of the spent coffee cups and dump out their contents to put in my composter. I would sit with grandpa in the morning and “shell” k-cups, as one might do with the exoskeleton of shrimp. He would tell me the same stories and I would laugh and sometimes pretend like I hadn’t heard them, or if I had heard them too many times I’d say “oh yeah! You told me that one!” and we would finish the story in pieces together. After a while, I wasn’t able to keep up. At some point, this timeless act of communion between grandpa and me became a chore and was no longer worth the effort.

I do think that it is part to do with the fact that Grandpa raised a fist at my mom when they went on a trip to see his family. Because Grandpa has dementia, and because he was actually abusive in his younger days, he gets aggressive when conditions aren’t to his exact specifications. For this particular instance, Grandpa wanted to go home and mom was trying to talk him down. Now had he hit my mother, she would have fallen down a lot of stairs from what I hear. While he had the restraint to not go through with the blow, I haven’t quite been okay with him since then. In fact, its very difficult to be around him as I’ve been the victim of an abuser. Someone that would choke me, put all of his body weight on me to constrict my breathing, and who would eventually go on to give me a black eye. (I wrote about the entire sequence of events from that relationship here.) The rage I feel toward abusers is visible as I tremble with adrenaline. My fists clench and there are times when I would like to be physical. So I understand the restraint it takes to not act on those feelings. And still, I have little sympathy for the old fuck.

So it turns out Grandpa didn’t hide the coffee… I can be a little brat and he can be an asshole.

Originally written in Collective Journaling at Katy’s Google Meetup

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