2006.01.11 #$%^ to the last drop

Written by David Green.

By JEFF PICKELL

There’s a lot of things to be said about coffee, but due to the Observer’s obscenity rules, most can’t be said in this column.

I used to be a fan of coffee. When I was in college, it gave me the drive to stay up until daylight playing video games and reading comic books and watching episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm on OnDemand, forms of entertainment adults call slacking off. It also helped keep my eyes open when I had to spend 34 straight hours in the library finishing up projects I should’ve been working on when I was slacking off.

And then I graduated from college and realized that there’s no shame in going to sleep at night. That’s the problem with college kids—somewhere along the line it becomes uncool to do things during the daytime, like study, or exercise, or sit on the porch drinking beer. In college, if the sun’s out and you’re doing any one of these things, your peers will invariably label you a bookworm, or a health nut, or a stinking drunkard.

So what do college students do during the day? Sleep, mostly. I heard tell of these things called “classes” students sometimes attend, but those are for people who study majors that require knowledge, like chemistry, science, engineering. I majored in English; all an English major requires is the ability to read English. I’d had that down since the first grade.

The only major I can think of that requires less knowledge than English is political science. But political science majors have it made—they take their know-nothing degrees and get elected president. We English majors take our know-nothing degrees and starve to death, thinking in our dying moments, “At least I can read, which is more than I can say for some presidents and vice-presidents.”

But I was talking about coffee. There’s a certain faction of students in all campus communities who like nothing more than to drink coffee and talk all night, and I was with a certain faction of those students last Saturday.

I’d gone to Kalamazoo to visit my buddy Dolley who’s a fancy dancy hipster English major type, and we began the night meeting some similarly-disposed friends at a cafe.

Now, I’ve never been much of a social coffee drinker; I drink it only when I want to stay up late, usually when I’m by myself. So, mistake number one Saturday night was drinking at the pace usually reserved for the only other social beverage I know—beer. After about two hours and five coffees, I turned to Dolley and whispered, “Is it me, or is my brain trying to tear itself out the back of my skull?”

He whispered something back, to which I replied “I can’t hear you, my heart is beating too loudly.”

I switched over to water at that point, but the other artsy-fartsy types kept right on drinking and talking, the conversation shifting from one absurd topic of world politics to the next. When the coffee joint closed down at about 2 a.m. we decided to retreat to another friend’s house to continue the festivities. They walked, but I just stood still and let my heartbeat bounce me forward. I kept pace remarkably well.

Now, I had fallen behind in one course of study in college and it was about to come back and bite me.

Most English majors also engage in a rigorous, independent Bong Studies program, which, as Bill Clinton can attest, is the reason most of them never get elected president. I’d be a liar to say I’ve never tried pot before, but, truthfully, I found it too hard to read, play video games, and watch TV when stoned, so I  gave up on the drug before I even made it to college.

But these folks I was with had no trouble splitting what I would surmise to be a cubic jungle of pot among themselves, which, I guess, is how they all managed to pass out at around 4 a.m.

By then, my heart had settled enough that I could hear Dolley, who also has no love for the pot. He said to me, “Pickell, there is no way you’re getting to sleep tonight.”

And I said, “I concur. But neither are you.”

“No, I’ll be fine,” he said.

“Huh?” I said.

“I’m Irish. I’m immune.”

“You’re full of it.”

“Come on. I’ll prove it to you.”

And within five minutes of stepping through his front door, he was sawing logs on the couch.

Which was bad for me, because the only other place to sleep, aside from the floor, was Dolley’s bed, and I just don’t hate myself that much.

So I was forced to drive back, at 5 a.m. and wide awake, to Morenci, the sleepy little city I call my home, hoping that maybe a little bit of the somnolence would rub off.

I was mistaken. If I don’t get to sleep soon, I may be accused of being a college student. Or worse yet, a political science major.

– Jan. 11, 2006
  • Play Practice
    DRAMA—Fayette schools, in conjunction with the Opera House Theater program, will present two plays Friday night at the Fayette Opera House. From the left is Autumn Black, Wyatt Mitchell, Elizabeth Myers, Jonah Perdue, Sam Myers (in the back) and Lauren Dale. Other cast members are Brynn Balmer, Mason Maginn, Ashtyn Dominique, Stephanie Munguia and Sierra Munguia. Jason Stuckey serves as the technician and Trinity Leady is the backstage manager. The plays will be performed during the day Friday for students and for the public at 7 p.m. Friday.
  • Front.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.rover
    CLEARING THE WAY—Road crossings in the area on the construction route of the Rover natural gas pipeline are marked with poles and flags as preliminary work nears. Ditches and field entry points are covered with thick planks in many areas to support equipment for tree clearing operations. Actual pipeline construction is progressing across Ohio toward a collecting station near Defiance. That segment of the project is expected to wrap up in July. The 42-inch line through Michigan and into Ontario is scheduled for completion in November. The line is projected to transport 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas every day.
  • Front.geese
    ON THE MOVE—Six goslings head out on manuevers with their parents in an area lake. Baby waterfowl are showing up in lakes and ponds throughout the area.
  • Accident
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  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Face Paint
    FUN NIGHT FUN—Savanna Miles sits patiently while Abbie White works on a face paint design Friday during the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Gracie Snead watches the progress after having spent time in the chair. Abbie was one of several volunteer painters, each creating their own unique look. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.

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