The No-Choice Choice


So, you’re forced to make a horrible choice.  Don’t ask me to explain the circumstances that put you in this position.  Assume it involves some sort of diabolical blackmail or a mad scientist with a nuclear bomb hidden somewhere.  It doesn’t really matter.  What does matter is that you have to choose between two alternatives.

Choice #1:  Host a nightly jam session for members of the Society for the Preservation and Perpetuation of Ancient Battlefield Musical Instruments.  This means bagpipes, bugles, shawms, and nakers, and it also means enough noise to loosen dental fillings, shake pictures off walls, and make the place pretty much uninhabitable for the duration of each session.

Choice #2:  Using an air popcorn popper to roast coffee beans in the basement.

Given the choice, I would take #1.  Not that I’ve hosted an Ancient Battlefield jam session, but I have roasted coffee beans in the basement. Believe me.  It’s #1 you want. 

If you’re unfamiliar with home roasting coffee beans using a popcorn popper, look here.  Normally, I roast outside, but a -20 celsius morning (in Fahrenheit that’s Freezes Nosehairs Instantly) forced me to look at alternatives.  That alternative was the confines of the basement.

The first batch of beans, roasted to a Full City Dark, went swimmingly well.  The second batch was intended to be roasted to the same degree.  Unfortunately, with the popcorn popper already warmed up, my highly scientific approach (roasting the second batch the same length of time as the first) resulted in a dark roast so dark, I would place it in a newly named coffee roasting category:  Full City Charcoal.  

I will drink the coffee from these beans, just as I’ll drink a bad batch of home-brew because it just doesn’t seem right to throw anything out I’ve made no matter how badly it tastes.  But the reminder of that coffee roasting session stayed with me and anyone else  in the house for the next number of days– kind of like living in a giant barbecue where the smell of burnt coffee beans is inescapable, and intensified every time the forced air furnace kicked into action.  It was the olfactory version of an ear-worm.  Think of Abba for the nose.

So, in short, if you find yourself hung from a rope above a pool of underfed sharks and forced to choose between #1 and #2, go with #1.  Earplugs are preferable to nose-plugs.