This is McGarry’s first visit to the Polandian writer’s podium. If you want to see him again please applaud loudly out of your window—I can hear you from here.
I was asked by my future mother in law if I would like coffee. So far so good, an easy question I know the answer to. “Yes,” I replied and in an instant (the only instant thing about this coffee as I would shortly discover) the drink was duly produced. Obviously she had assumed I would answer in the affirmative, which was a bit presumptuous I thought but in the interests of Scottish/Polish relations I decided to let it slip.
I’ll be honest, in the beginning I was so glad to have that coffee, even though it tasted like they’d soaked an old boot in bath water for a week, since when it was at my mouth I didn’t have to speak or answer any questions. Soon though I noticed something wrong with my conversation killer drink, there appeared to be bits floating in it. “Not to worry,” I thought I’ll just give it a quick stir and down the hatch it’ll go no problems. Mistake. As I tipped the rest of the contents of the cup into my mouth the coffee was followed by some horrible unknown substance with the consistency of soil.
I fought the urge to gag and spit, again in the interest of cross border relations. I took the decision to chew, swallow and suffer instead. The next few minutes felt like an eternity in coffee hell but luckily our meeting was soon at an end. As I stood to thank my host with my teeth now sporting a nice pebble-dashed look I drew some amused glances from the guests and assumed I’d been the butt of some sick polish coffee prank. I relayed my tale to my girlfriend on the way to the car, naturally she was concerned— mostly she was concerned that her sides would split from laughter. It was a wee while before she could tell me that the coffee was in fact filter coffee bez filter. “Savages,” thought I.
I make a habit of turning up at people’s houses with a jar of instant coffee these days. I also spent the rest of my holiday being ridiculed. Well at least until my next little mishap, which wasn’t quite so endearing, but that, I think, is for another day.