When it comes to alcohol, I am perfectly capable of self-control. Almost nauseatingly so. However much fun a night out may be, I never have more than four beers. If another beer is pushed into my hand, I surreptitiously pour it into someone else's glass. I pick my victim from among those reeling companions who can only just keep their balance if you pat them on the back.
I resolve to cut down almost daily. But my resolve weakens as soon as I start up Word. And before typing my first word, I drift in the direction of my daily dilemma: which coffee is it to be? The thermos flask is not in the running, because before breakfast I was still resolved to drink less coffee. So it's a choice between Albron and the coffee machine, a choice between Luxury Trappist and Euroshopper Extra Lousy Plus.
I don't want any truck with Albron. Sure, the coffee is delicious: it smells good, it's hot, and I love it. But you see... Albron is expensive and I don't feel that fits my image. All my jeans are holey, my shoes are falling apart at the seams, so should I be drinking the sort of coffee that would go with an Armani outfit?
But machine coffee doesn't appeal to me either. It is sharp, bitter and does not in the least remind you of coffee. The first sip is alright, but thanks to the hideous aftertaste, I gag halfway through my cup. What is more, I think the machine is a swindler. To save money, I keep my cup (10 cents off). But the machine does not always realize this, and regularly releases a second cup on top of the one I placed askew under the tap. In my half-awake state I just manage to avert a crisis before a stream of hot water descends on the unstable cups. And sometimes the machine turns out not to have any coffee at all. Then I press the button and get ‘beep beep beep', and then nothing. ‘Reimbursement is not possible', declares the screen triumphantly. Now, when I go for a coffee I am not usually at my sharpest - that is why I am going for a coffee. And that is why it has been known for this kind of swindle to be repeated several times in a row.
I cannot cope without coffee, but I don't enjoy buying it either. So I ask my beer-drinking friends: if you see me reeling at the computer, barely able to keep my balance, would you surreptitiously pour me some more coffee?