TBT: Closed Systems

That's a very young me in the background.

A very young Wendy in pink.

An ageless Rich in the red apron.

And, I'm pretty sure that's Evangeline Lilly chewing her thumbnail and waiting for a call-back for LOST.

March, maybe April, 2000.

We were all lucky to be alive then after the Y2K disaster. Lucky to be alive, and lucky to have jobs.

Wendy sent me this picture a few years back and I had kept it in my office in-box since. After I left the coffee shop, I put the picture in my iPad cover, which is where it sat until it fell out today while I was enjoying my morning tea and playing Scrabble.

I picked this picture because I haven't had a cup of coffee in about a week now.


It'll be okay.

Now, for those of you that didn't get to know me in real life, I'm pretty much a coffee junkie. I haven't gone 24 hours without a cup of coffee since I was fourteen years old.

That's nearly a quarter century for those unwilling to do the math.

My love of coffee took me from junkie status to a full blown career. Everything I own, everything I've been able to do, the roof over my head, and the socks that I should go put on cause its getting cold in the studio, I owe to coffee.

But my new life is filled with a completely different kind of stress. Oddly enough, the coffee that gave me the multitasking powers of Shiva, was now contributing to this really unproductive shiny object frenzy.

I've spent a decade being in three places at the same time, but now I need to be super present and concentrating on the task at hand, and I can't.

So I've been sipping tea instead.

And I can't say it has made a world of difference.

But just enough to prove me right.

So back to the picture, I don't remember a lot of the 25,000 hours I spent working in an apron, but I absolutely remember this one.

Rich was a company trainer and he was teaching us the various methods of home espresso brewing.

Closed systems versus open systems.

You see, in a closed system, you have a tank that boils water and creates an astounding amount of pressure for pulling your espresso, but you can't continue filling the tank. You have just enough pressure to steam some milk and pull a couple of doubles and then you have to wait for it to cool down a bit before you add more water.

An open system allows you to continually add water to the tank, but doesn't create the same level of pressure, so you can't steam as good a pitcher of milk nor pull as good a shot.

We stopped carrying the closed system machines five years after this picture was taken cause they were really hard to use and very expensive and a tough sell to anyone but the geekiest of aficionados.

Them's the breaks.

Volume versus quality.

So yes, I remember this training. In fact, I remember every training I ever went to. Every lesson learned. Every trainer who taught me something new. It was, by an outstanding margin, the best part of the job.

After the training program was dismantled, because it was hard to use and terribly expensive,  I was very sad for a very long time.

Everyone knew it was a mistake, but no one who knew better had the power to change it.

Volume versus quality.

Go ahead and mourn the buggy whip maker, because he was really good at it.

Anyway, had it continued, I would not be doing what I am doing now, I guarantee it. And I don't regret a minute of anything. Wins, losses, erosions, loves, hates, and both feet in mouth awkwardness.

The point is this: Do what you can to reduce your stress, don't mourn a life that was never really yours, and enjoy learning new things, cause even though it may amount to nothing, at least you'll have something to blog about in your old age.

1 comment:

  1. I hear you. It has been sad to see the training programs get lost on the sidelines.