Ruby Bayan is a freelance writer who likes to share her simple joys.

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What To Do With Those Leftover Half-Cups Of Coffee

by Ruby Bayan

'Planters' by Ruby Bayan The boss is coming! You remember that he had, for the zillionth time, reminded you that your workplace is a reflection of your mind, which is his way of saying, "Clean up that clutter!"

You quickly grab the scattered folders and sheets of paper and stuff them in your already overflowing drawer. You straighten your laptop, stapler, and pen holder and pretend you're busy with the status report. You give your desk a quick once over and... ugh! Three used, half-filled coffee cups from yesterday's overtime and this morning's meeting! "Why did they have to put me so far away from the pantry?" you groan!

You pick up the cups and, no, you can't drop them into the trash can -- you might need those crumpled papers later on! And no, you can't be evil enough to put them on your officemate's desk -- because the lipstick stains on the cups obviously betray that the stale beverage is, or was, yours.

So, you look around and... oh! Look at that! Planters! Surely these plants need watering! Surely they don't mind having a little caffeine now and then. Surely it will even make them grow excitedly! You dump the stale coffee, squoosh the paper cups and sit down just as the boss comes into your cubicle.

Whew! And that was two months ago, right? And everyday for two months, you've included the surely-these-plants-don't-mind-having-a-little-caffeine-now-and-then into your instant clean-up routine. You've even noticed your other officemates pitching in.

But suddenly you're hit with eco-consciousness guilt. What if plants don't like coffee? What if it makes them jittery (you imagine plants growing erratically due to nervous tension)? But if you stop pouring them your leftovers, would they go into caffeine withdrawals (you imagine the leaves and branches reaching out to you while you're sipping your coffee)?

You decide to ask your friendly neighborhood garden center and the proprietor says, "It depends. Some plants appreciate acidity in the soil, which is what coffee will give to the plants. Some gardeners even sprinkle used coffee grounds on tomato plots because they swear that the plants love it. Are you growing tomatoes in your office?"

You leave the garden center feeling a bit relieved -- plants appreciate acidity in the soil -- that's fine. But then you remembered, you take cream and sugar with your coffee!

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