“It doesn’t matter where you’re from – or how you feel… There’s always peace in a strong cup of coffee.” ― Gabriel Bá, Daytripper
All because of the coffee break. Ostensibly, vending machines probably owe some of their success to coffee breaks as well, though their initial placement was elsewhere. Coffee breaks have taken on a life, and ingenuity, of their own. While rules vary from company to company, federal law still mandates two fifteen minute breaks for every eight hours worked, in addition to a minimum of 30 minutes for lunch. Even for those very strange and bothersome people who don’t drink coffee, we all need a moment to step away from what we’re doing, stretch our limbs, let our mind relax and wander a bit. A cup of coffee, especially in the middle of the afternoon as we’re starting to hit that post-lunch slump, keeps us fresh.
Efficiency experts, of course, hate any kind of departure from the grind and have tried since the beginning to find ways of minimizing the impact of coffee breaks on production. Carefully positioning of break rooms, staggered break times, and even some humorous attempts at automating coffee delivery have been attempted with varying degrees of success. Evil managers have attempted to bogart coffee breaks as well, delivering new assignments mere seconds before one was about to leave their desk. There’s no end to what mean people will do to keep us from our coffee.
Today’s picture represents how that even someone whose work schedule is more relaxed still needs a moment to step outside and enjoy a cup from the nearest coffee shop, shoes not necessarily being a requirement. Forced outside because of her cigarette, and with no convenient place to sit, she still finds that moment of respite balanced carefully on her toes, alternating between sipping on her coffee and taking a drag from her cigarette. While the scene is rather contemporary, and the pose somewhat unique, she is still engaging in that time-honored tradition that is just as much a part of the industrial revolution as is the conveyor belt.
Coffee breaks are such a standard part of our day now that I fear some may actually take them for granted. Yet, without them a great deal of work and creativity would be lost. Certainly, most photographers I’ve known over the years are totally worthless without a nearly constant flow of caffeine coming at them, and the same holds true for the majority of creatives I’ve met. I’ve also noticed a high number of attorneys and physicians chugging their coffee between court dates or surgeries. Even the most professional people need a break.
And now, having read all this, I think you probably deserve a break, too. Don’t you?