I can’t get it strong enough. I’d drink espresso, but I can’t wrap my brain around the tiny cups. They are adorable...the teeny little handles and everything, but why can I not get a giant, soup-bowl sized coffee mug of the stuff? Yes, I’m aware of the caffeine...are there other reasons for drinking coffee?
The taste, you might say? Unlikely, in my opinion. Although, hats off to Starbucks for making such a plain drink seem like dessert (also for making us have to dig around for bills instead of coins for this privilege). For a long time, I went with one part coffee, 1 part sugar just to make it drinkable. I wasn't sure whether it was the caffeine or the sugar that brought me to life, so I played it safe and had lots and lots of both. Then I met people way cooler than me who scoffed at my sugar. Black and thick as tar...because we are so cool, they'd say (well...imply). Now I’ve just acclimated myself to the bitterness (also a useful skill in dealing with these people).
I may be from the school of “everything in moderation” now, but most of my early training took place at the school of “more is more”. Even though I use the term "school" pretty loosely...I don’t think anyone is learning anything there. One big party school, actually. It was here that I was taught (late 80’s, early 90's) to have Texas-style big hair and that drinking coffee helps negate the effects of no sleep. So, you know. I was a toddler with big hair who drank coffee (in case you were trying to do some age Math there).
I lived in an apartment with my sister (2 toddlers, living on our own, big hair…) and we enjoyed being up and about at nights much more than sleeping through them. I came home with groceries one day. Pop-tarts, Doritos, milk, ketchup, Lean Cuisines, a head of broccoli (inexplicably)...and coffee. I filled the coffee container with the precious grains even before putting the milk away.
The next day, after our usual morning coffee, my sister and I were not yet shaking the effects of the minimal sleep we'd had. We started musing about accidentally buying de-caf.
Imagine if you bought de-caf.
I know...I would die.
I would die!
I know…I would die.
We weren’t pre-med majors in University at the time (clearly), but the strange, squeezing headaches we had tipped us off to something being very wrong. The musing dropped off sharply and was replaced by irritability. Normally we would express irritably in scathing sarcastic remarks, but luckily we were too tired to do anything more than some epic eye-rolling at each other. The odd exasperated sigh. Head shaking (until we realized the head-shaking hurt. So we stopped).
We slugged through the day, barely making it to the evening. I was in bed by 9pm (when my night was normally just getting started). The next morning, it was like trying to function underwater. With a headache. I diagnosed us with mono (again, not pre-med) (could not have told you what “mono” was the short-form of). By the end of the week, we just decided this was it for us...we were dying. We'd just make the most of our underwater experience in the short time we had left.
As a last ditch attempt to save ourselves, we went out for more groceries. We doubled up on The Lean Cuisines just in case a “well-balanced meal” would be the answer. We were also out of coffee again, having gone through it in record time, trying to cure our mystifying condition.
In the coffee aisle, each leaning on our own cart for support, I reached for the coffee. The blue one was on sale again, just like last week. I reached for it. My sister's gaze drifted lazily over.
Not that one – it’s decaf
Oh. Right. (hand, frozen in mid-reach)
(heads slowly raise, eyes meet…)
The next morning was jubilant, happy, full of boundless energy and rays of sunshine and joy. Whipping open of dusty curtains, flinging of scarves, kicking up of heels…lots and lots of hugging and laughter. Singing. At 6am. The downstairs neighbour using his broomstick to bang on the ceiling, wondering what those ridiculous girls were doing still up at 6am. Not still. Just up – with coffee. Real coffee (the one with the caffeine). Blessed nectar of the Gods.
Today, I’m very careful about a lot of things in life – raising my daughters, relationships, achieving goals, health, spiritual matters…but probably the thing that I am most careful about?
Never. Ever. EVER…mix up caf and decaf again. (ever)
Also, who buys decaf?