Tell the truth: are YOU the insensitive lout who is taking the last cup of coffee in the office break room and not brewing more?
Are YOU the one who is furtively sucking the last dregs of my optimism (not to mention my faith in human nature) into your "World's Greatest Dad" mug and then skulking back to your desk, leaving the rest of us to suffer when our humble request for coffee is callously rejected with an unproductive gurgle?
If it is, indeed, YOU, then maybe you don't understand that not brewing another pot of coffee is second only in the workplace to the capital offense of walking away from a jammed printer mid-job, which apparently you or your ilk also do, not realizing that the person behind you is on a deadline and there are three board members waiting and there could not be a worse time to have to find, let alone replace, the magenta cartridge.
Let's be clear: it could not be easier to make the coffee. The machine is already plumbed to provide the water. You just pull out the basket and empty the old grounds into the trash (careful! don't drip on the floor, because that's a slipping hazard and is No. 3 on our list of Office Peeves). Then put a filter in the now-empty basket and then open a pre-measured bag, dump it in the basket, put the basket in the machine, then (and here's the hard part) hit the brew button.
The way I figure it, once you pay off that big karma debt balloon you've accumulated and go to the Great Starbucks In The Sky you'll be getting one or more of the circles of hell that Dante reserved for you:
Lust: Because let's face it; love, even for coffee, will make a person do strange things.
Gluttony: Do I have to spell it out for you?
Greed: You're thinking, quite literally, as you waltz out with your ill-gotten grounds, "I've got mine, Jack!"
Fraud: Those coffee pots look the same when they're full as when they're empty, and you know it and you're counting on it as you sneak out, shamefaced.
Treachery: Did you know that the famous saying really was, "Et tu, Brewte?"
And if I sound irked, well, that's because I am (to be honest, I'm a little caffeine-deprived, obviously not that you care). If nothing else, I guess I always figured that there was a certain honor among addicts. You too, Mr. (or Ms.) Insensitive Lout, know the anguish of running in to the lunch room late for a meeting, waving your coffee cup under the spout and depressing the lever only to hear the agonizing sputter of the dregs of a lost vision of inspiration and energy.
So you've felt the sense of betrayal and frustration we've known as you realize that the person sitting next to you in a meeting is the kind of person who would just take the last cup of hope and then sneak out without setting up another pot to brew and leaving their beleaguered coworkers to suffer the throes of withdrawal.
WHAT KIND OF PERSON DOES THAT?
Your kind, apparently.
Ahwatukee Foothills resident Elizabeth Evans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her column appears monthly.