My relationship with coffee, is, what I would assume to be, the same as one’s relationship with cigarettes.
Sure, my head aches in withdrawal and my mind is foggy before I consume– but it’s really my heart that hurts without it. Coffee is my favorite ritual. Its hypnotic scent casts me into a spell of invincibility and opportunity. Just holding it in my manicured fingers is the same comfort level of my fuzzy bunny slippers or a back massage after a Tuesday full of conference calls.
It’s my biggest, little pleasure.
When Derek and I first started dating, he would make us coffee to drink together on his all-too-picturesque front porch. We’d sit there and sip and smile and just talk. Still so in love with finding out everything we could about each other. We were morning breath and bedhead and oversized clothes.
And we were perfect.
Coffee, like cigarettes, (I imagine), is an acquired taste. Obviously. No one is born with an affinity for South American whole bean dark roast. (At least, I don’t think they are? Maybe that explains all of this…) I discovered coffee early on, like you did, I’m sure. My mom drank it. My grandmother had a half-consumed pot in her kingdom of a kitchen that I spent endless after-schools in. It smelled weird and I knew I wasn’t allowed to have it… which just made me want it more.
In 7th grade, Kelsea The Teacher’s Pet Wiggins as I’m sure my classmates must’ve called me behind my back, was summoned to run errands for certain teachers. “Because I could be trusted,” I would tell myself.
Because I’m better. I really thought.
Regardless, my pretentiousness led me to the teachers lounge on more than one occasion to fetch afternoon coffee. (Something I’d learn a LOT about during my time at advertising agencies.) During the stillness of the forbidden teacher’s lounge in the middle of the afternoon, I’d concoct an extra cup of “coffee” (if you can even call 4 month old pre-ground Folgers that) for myself. It was really 1 part coffee, 8 parts sugar, 15 parts creamer.
And it was delightful.
When I joined the workforce at my first “big girl job” I would make coffee as an excuse to be away from the isolation of my cubicle. My whimsical mugs were the ultimate social ice-breaker. I’d stop by my coworkers desks and ask them if they’d like to accompany me to grab a “pick me up.” And, like cigarette smokers, (I assume), we’d have precious conversation that unveiled to me the nuances of office politics. So and so doesn’t really work after 2pm, she’s just on amazon, shopping. IT knows this because they have access to all of our computers. So and so is getting fired soon. Can you believe so and so wore THAT to work today? Did you see so and so on their phone during that meeting? RUDE!
But I was still just a social coffee drinker.
Coffee was just something I did to feel older and look cool and pass the time.
Like cigarettes. I’m assuming.
Then, one day, you know, you blink and you’re in your mid twenties, and your job is no longer a meaningless social game and your life is no longer a barrage of blacked out nights on Park Street and blowing your rent money on brunch and club clothes. You have a career that you care about and ambitions you’re nurturing. And there’s this human at your apartment after your day full of over-grinding at your career who like for real loves you. And you need something to legitimately drug you into motivation in the mornings because you’re legit giving 10,000% daily. And the 8 packs of Spelnda slowly turn into one or two teaspoons of stevia. The french vanilla creamer turns into a baby-splash of almond milk.
At least that’s how it happened for me.
Our first Christmas together, Derek and I, was magical, to say the least. I was in my tiny one-bedroom apartment on the Scioto River. We put up an all white Christmas Tree, aka the tree of my dreams. We made our first “holiday” plans as a couple. Derek spent Thanksgiving with my family, so I would spend Christmas with his. We exchanged gifts before making the snowy trek to New Lexington. It was a song and dance of anticipation and excitement and “do you like it?” and “you can exchange it if you want” and “omg babe you shouldn’t have.”
That was until I opened a large box that he had gifted to me.
It was a coffee maker. Stainless steel. But not any coffee maker. It had a built in grinder and a timer and a digital clock and everything.
And it was perfect.
I could buy that $60 6lb bag of black gold that I drank every day (and into the evenings) at the ad agency I worked at. I could pulverize coffee beans and make excessive amounts of my favorite delicacy whenever I wanted. Derek and I could go back to sleepy Saturday mornings outside, nursing piping hot mugs and talking about everything and nothing.
Cause that’s what coffee is to me.
It’s stupid and it’s important. It’s food for my soul and a death sentence for my teeth. It reminds me of who I am and who I want to be, but also what I wish I could change about myself. It starts me and ends me. It fuels and crashes. Soothes and irritates.
It’s everything and it’s nothing.
So bad and so good.
Like cigarettes, i’m assuming.