I awake to a sudden lurch, as if the whole world is being pulled out from under me. My eyes snap open and I find a surprised face with wide eyes staring at me. The secretary! She screams and slams my drawer shut, tossing all of my possessions wildly against the wall. And I had my droppings so nicely set in the corner to clean up later, what a shame! “Well, there's no going back to sleep now,” I think to myself, “time for some lekkere TU Delft coffee!”
Luckily in our department we have a coffeemaker with real beans. As I come around the corner I see a civil engineer hunched over it, grumbling to himself. “Darn machine isn't working again!” Sometimes the machines must forget to have a little coffee themselves, they sure do seem to be broken more often than not.
“Goeiemorgen!” I hear as I head down the hall to the next machine. It's my friend Sophia, who gave me a campus tour when I first arrived at TU Delft a few weeks ago.
“Morgen,” I reply, struggling to utter the “g” from the back of my throat. What an odd language these Dutch mice have.
“Machine broken again?” asks Sophia. “I‘m heading to the next one, it doesn’t grind the beans on demand, but bad coffee is better than no coffee, right? Besides, I was up late after going to the student bar last night. That place is great to chat with your colleagues at a good price, but wow, those students need to work on their math skills - they had a discount of 4 beers for the price of 3 and they were donating one-third of the cost to raise money for a sculpture. How does that work?”
“So that's why the floor was so sticky last night!” I realise. No matter, all those sloppy students and employees sure left a lot of crumbs on the floor for me to snack on.
As we reach the coffee machine, a big red X is visible in the upper right corner. “Great. This one is out too,” says Jan, “40 years ago, coffee was brought to the office by pretty young coffee ladies. Everything was better back then." Jan sure does like to complain about things a lot. He has been here for quite a while...I think he said last week he first arrived as a student 50 years ago!
Oh well, I guess I had better get to work; I hope the internet for my computer is working today. Strange that a Technical University can produce such impactful research but can‘t get the coffee machines and the internet working consistently. I guess I’ll put in a service request. My 10th this week!
As I get back to my office, I see a repair man is already walking away from the first coffee machine with the good beans. People sure do find a lot of things to complain about, but I really like it here. And who knows... maybe the coffee machine will be working tomorrow!
To be continued.
This column is written by Kristina Reinders and Robert Lanzafame, lecturers at the Faculty of Civil Engineering.