My MacGyver Moment

Russia

At sunrise, we hurriedly pack our car and make a beeline for the border, hoping to cross early. Upon arrival at 8 a.m., we find out that the border doesn’t open until 9 a.m. We are stuck in no man’s land. A cold rain drizzles. I’m desperate to feed my addiction.

“Isn’t there a cup of coffee anywhere in this darn countryside?” I moan.

About 15 minutes later, a trucker parked in front of us emerges from his cab carrying a steaming kettle of water. He motions at us. I think fast, passing him my clear Nalgene water bottle. He fills it, and I grab our bag of dark, preground Gimme! Coffee. We bought a pound in Brooklyn before leaving, but we’ve been unable to make coffee: We forgot a stove.

I heap grounds into my water bottle and shake it. The water turns the color of well-polished dress shoes. The aroma is intoxicating. But the grounds are vexing and gritty. Then a stroke of MacGyver genius strikes. Mims rips up a scrap of his floral-printed underwear, which he’s been using as a rag, and passes me a rubber band.

“It’s freshly washed,” he says, assuring me of the fabric’s hygiene.

I wrap the fabric and rubber band around the mouth of the bottle, and voilĂ ! Filtered underwear coffee. Here’s our video of the event: