Have I told you—have I told you that coffee loves me? I feel it—in every sip I take, as its aroma enters me through both my nostrils and my throat, even as it scalds my tongue with that first HOT sip—especially as it scalds my tongue—coffee loves me.
Oh, it loves me and it wants to share all the pleasures of the world with me and it fills me with zeal, joy, and adoration for all life.
Tea… tea doesn’t give a fuck. Really. Tea is all about itself. And the reputed kick of caffeinated varieties notwithstanding, in my mind, tea associates with the phlegmatic Brits, celibate too-Zen-for-love monks, Ayurvedic herbal concoctions.
Coffee is a passionate Latin lover, a conquering Turk.
OMG, fuck, yes, I know I have a problem. But let me sing the praises of my heroin.
I’m writing this while conducting an experiment of sorts. I made mug of herbal tea, sweetish. And a mug of dark, biting, bitter coffee—percolated until thick and chewy, OMFG, the smell. I was going to drink the tea… just smell the coffee.
The tea is mug is still full, the coffee cup half empty, and as my right hand writes, my left is curled around the ear of the coffee mug.
“Don’t leave me again,” the coffee whispers.
“Don’t cause me pain again,” I whisper back.
I think I’ve figured out how to drink the coffee without suffering—and in moderation too, I hope. I think? And as I cradle the cup in my hands and inhale the aroma—really, this is too intimate, avert your eyes because my toes are curling and this coffee cup and I are sharing a passion so intense it is sacrilege to look upon it and I haven’t even touched my lips its black liquid—as I cradle the cup, I wonder… have I failed? Should I have tried harder, longer? Fought more intensely against its seductive allure?
Should I have tried harder, longer to forget the tastes, the associations? Forge new ones?
(There is nothing—there are no associations worthy of those I have with coffee. There is no substitute, there is no methadone…)
Have I failed?
“Never,” the coffee whispers as it trickles down my throat. “I adore you and you came back to me.”
I don’t know if I’m going to embrace, make peace with this one.
“I love you.” (The coffee’s seductive whisper.)
“Don’t hurt me again.” (My subjugated whimper.)
Maybe today’s cup isn’t the beginning of a new string of them. Maybe it’s just an anomaly… a brief fall off the wagon, and I will sanctimoniously and self-righteously get back on it again tomorrow. Or the day after.
“Don’t leave me again.”
It travels through me, fuels me, stimulates me.
I love it back.
I don’t throw the word “love” around lightly, you know. I love my children. Their father. You, even when I’m feeling pissy and neglected and estranged.
Fuck, I love coffee.
Flora: And what’s why I’m so glad I never started drinking it.
Flora, my most disciplined and thus judgemental child.
Ender: I’ll love coffee.
He probably will. He is my most passionate and hedonistic child, and coffee likes her lovers—er, drinkers—to have passions.
Cinder: Mom? Can you come help me with this?
Cinder. How much do I love you, my son? So much, I am relearning high school algebra for you. The answer, by the way, to “Why do I need to know how to factor polynomials” is —unless you’re going to pursue a career in engineering, possibly IT, or something like that—“So you can help you kids with their math homework when they are in high school.”
This is so so hard.
“Here, darling. Take another sip. It will make everything better. At least for a while. I promise.”
I mean addiction.
Addition isn’t that hard. Unless you’re adding imaginary unknown numbers related to each other in random mysterious ways.
Cinder: It’s not random and mysterious! There’s a pattern!
I don’t see it.
Where was I?
“You love me.”
“I love you.”
“Don’t leave me again.”
PS The day after writing this post, I started reading Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit. I know, I’m a decade behind. But see, serendipity being what it is, I started reading just at the precisely right time that this particular paragraph resonated with me:
“BREW RUTS INTO GROOVES
A bad habit—that is, one that doesn’t produce good results—is a rut. Coffee is a rut for me. I need a cup or two every morning and I don’t know why. Part of it, I’m sure, is its addictive properties. But I don’t enjoy it that much.
At one point, I played a game of delaying my daily coffee until I produced something solid that day. No good work, no good coffee. I transformed coffee from rut to reward. To be honest, this didn’t last long. Within a month, I was back into my coffee, grind. I don’t know. You can’t be stoic and strong about everything. Some things in life are just meant to be enjoyed simply because you enjoy them. They are their own rationale.
But the mere act of thinking about my coffee rut had a transformative effect. I now regard coffee in a positive light. It’s my coffee groove.
Pick a “bad” habit—whether it’s coffee or reading the newspaper in its entirety every day to avoid writing—and do something to make it “good.” Realize that you don’t need elimination, so it’s working for you. Exercise the rut. Exercise the groove.”
Twyla Tharp, The Creative Habit, pg 208-209
I’m pretty sure that Twyla Tharp just said..
“Yes. She did. Come back to me. Now.”
Excuse me. Stop looking. Don’t judge. I have to go… grind some beans…
PS2 SOAPBOX. If you’re a Calgary citizen and reading this on October 16, vote. Preferably for Naheed Nenshi for mayor, because he’s awesome, but just get your ass out and vote, because democracy, while flawed, is the best system of government we have, and its price is citizen participation.
Informed citizen participation. Educate yourself. Especially on our school board trustees. Don’t accidentally, through laziness, contribute to the election of a sexist-racist-homophobe (ain’t it funny how it’s all three and not just one or the other/) hiding intolerance and hate under “back to the basics” “power to the parents” “family values” and the like rhetoric.
You: Yo, Jane, political all of a sudden?
Jane: I’m a little scared the world is going to hell, and not even my love for coffee can distract me from this fear.
Coffee: Darling. Don’t think. Just drink.
Jane: Um… I have to go.
You: You have a problem.
Jane: I have a problem. But I love it…