It was a moment where the world literally stopped turning for me.

It started off like any other Tuesday. I had already had a cup of morning coffee and was off to the break room to grab a second cup of liquid productivity. Noticing the coffee container was empty, I assumed responsibility, refilled a new filter and began to brew up another batch. Or so I thought.

The machine made noise a few times but that was it. No coffee came out. It just continued to tease me and a fellow co-worker with empty promises of hot, black, highly caffeinated brew. After a few agonizing minutes of anticipation, Rick and I conceded defeat and walked away with empty mugs and our heads hung low. In his 30 years at Hinda he had never seen that coffee machine do that.

This moment was another road block in my relationship with coffee. It's funny how things change in a year. This time last year we barely knew each other. It was everything I could do to choke down a mocha. Then mom doctored up coffee for me so much with creamer before church one Sunday that I found it tolerable. Things gradually picked up from there, discovering that a "one part coffee...2 parts Marshmallow Mocha creamer" combination tastes pretty good, and that several tablespoons of chocolate Coffeemate was effective in killing that bitter, nasty, black coffee taste. Life was good, uncomplicated, and full of creamer.

Then Imagewest happened.

I entered my semester as an account executive for Imagewest with the same attitude I had the last several months prior: with enough creamer, any cup of coffee had a chance. Throughout the semester, we would sit in on client meetings a few times a week. Fellow account exec David and I would never enter a meeting without a hot cup of coffee in our hands. This was mainly to keep us awake and (for me anyway) have something to fidget with so I would stay focused (got to love ADD). As time went on I discovered that drinking a cup of "tasty" coffee wasn't enough. I would enjoy drinking it to the point where it would be gone 5ish minutes into a meeting and all I had was an empty cup staring at me the whole time. So I had a solution:

Start drinking it black.

Here was my theory. Black coffee tasted terrible. However, it was still hot and could still keep me occupied during a meeting. I knew the odds of me chugging something that tasted horrible were slim. So my philosophy was that if I drank it black, I would drink it slower and a cup would last me the entire meeting. This plan worked until one thing happened...I started to like black coffee. After having long hours at Imagewest compounded by the demands of track and field, class and another advertising job, I became notorious for large consumptions of nasty black coffee. I was hardly ever seen without a cup in my hand at the office. Over time and after graduation, I eventually weened myself off of mass consumption of coffee. However I still drank it black, saving money and time not using creamer.

So here I was months later sitting in my cubicle in Chicago with an empty mug and a broken heart. However things turned around. The company had a huge pasta lunch celebrating our CEO's birthday. This celebration also included cake. So after eating some lasagna, cutting up cake and feeling better about life, I heard even better news: the coffee pot was fixed! Apparently Patty (our CEO's assistant) just unplugged and plugged it back in.

The coffee machine was fixed. Coffee was back. Balance was restored to the universe and I was able to finish my day.