The Hotel Coffeemaker
Once upon a time, there was a girl whose alarm went off.
She fumbled for her phone and knocked it off the bedside table. Thus, she began her day the way she always did, with panic that she had just broken a piece of plastic that cost five hundred dollars. Finding that her phone was fine, the girl shut the alarm off and rubbed her eyelids for awhile.
She got up and shuffled to the bar sink in her hotel room. She took a little paper hat off a coffee mug and plugged in the coffeemaker on the counter. “Hello, coffeemaker,” she said.
The coffeemaker said nothing.
The girl filled her mug to the top with water and poured the water into the coffeemaker’s reservoir. She put the coffee pod in the coffee pod basket. She pushed a button that said BREW and then she stood there at the sink and thought about her job.
The coffeemaker burbled and steamed for a few minutes, and then with a rather rude “Pah!” it was done. The girl — who needed coffee very badly — was excited until she looked at what the machine had produced: a half cup of coffee. But she had poured a full mug of water into the reservoir! However much water was in her mug, when it ran through the coffeemaker, shouldn’t she get exactly that much coffee in her cup? Even adjusting for evaporation/inflation, there was definitely coffee missing. But where had it gone?
The girl drank the coffee, but it was gone too quickly and she was confused.
“Let’s try this again,” the girl said, and she studied the directions on the coffeemaker’s lid. She repeated the steps: mugful — truly full — of water, pod, BREW. Sure enough, “Pah!” went the coffeemaker when it was finished and her mug was again only half-full.
“Coffeemaker, why did you not make a full cup of coffee?” the girl said in a stern voice. Again, the coffeemaker said nothing.
The girl picked up the coffeemaker and shook it. She unplugged it and plugged it back in. She read the instructions on the lid once more; she even tried making two cups at once to see if that might be the ticket, but every time, no matter what she did or how much water she poured into the coffeemaker, she still only got a half cup of coffee in her mug. Every time.
“I don’t like you,” the girl said, narrowing her eyes. “At best, you’re terrible at making coffee. At worst, you’re drinking it. If you don’t explain yourself in the next 60 seconds, I’m going to the breakfast buffet where there are faucets of coffee just waiting to fill up every cup in Houston. Do you understand me? Now talk!”
The coffeemaker was silent. The girl tapped her foot. Almost a minute went by.
“That’s ten more seconds you’ve got, Mister…Coffee,” said the girl, though really it was a different brand so she knew she had just weakened her position. After ten more seconds, after the coffeemaker had stubbornly refused any attempt to explain itself, the girl sniffed and turned on her heels. She promptly tripped on her bathrobe, catching herself on the closet door handle on the way down. The day was shaping up great.