Coffee Is Not The Boss Of Me
Somewhere along the way as I was learning how to read, dress myself, multiply fractions and change the oil in my car, I forgot to learn to like coffee. I gave it a lame try during my early adulthood and I believe I accidentally ingested some as a kid and--really--that was enough for me. The bitter taste was horrendous and even doctored with a fistful of sugar and an entire cow's worth of milk, the taste was like battery acid stirred with a black licorice whip.
At the time I don't think anyone in my family dwelled too much over my negative reaction because, like many things in life, coffee is an acquired taste and it's not unusual for children to reject drinking something that causes them to shudder involuntarily. My first shot of bourbon was a walk in the park compared to...you know...coffee. During college at A&M, when staying awake was the prime motivator for learning which of the food groups contained the necessary amount of caffeine to maintain a conscious state for 72 hours straight, many of my friends fell victim to the coffee demon. After college, the necessity of staying awake using artificial means was replaced by the need to perform 90 minutes of office work using the same artificial means.
Please don't think I'm judging here. My own drug of choice was a combination of No Doz, M&Ms and a large Coke. Probably no better for me than a cup of coffee would be...maybe worse...but after college I stopped taking No Doz and I can go months without an M&M or even a soda. And staying up all night lost its buzz the minute the first kid was born.
Eventually, enough time passes that a young adult finally convinces himself/herself that coffee tastes good...good enough to drink every day. Several times a day. Constantly. By then they're totally hooked and before you know it, these same people are blaming headaches, crankiness, unproductivity at work and homicidal thoughts on the fact that they didn't get their coffee fix. Despite that, my mother maintains that coffee is nothing more than a "social drink". It hasn't helped that Starbucks has taken over the world, aiding and abetting society with their legally addictive stimulants. I'm not complaining, I'm just saying. And I wouldn't need to say anything at all were it not for the fact that my parents have struggled mightily with the concept that I don't drink the stuff.
Had my body failed to go through puberty or had I left the family fold to vote Democratic ---oh, wait--I did do that last thing--I don't think my parents could be any more surprised or dismayed. It is impossible to have a meal with my them that my dear father doesn't offer me coffee and then snicker. It's become a repetitive joke and it was one I laughed at the first few times it came up, but when I started pointing out how often THEY drank it, things started to get testy.
I would pause here to relay the saga of a long drive to Tennessee where one sister and I felt that we should accompany our parents to a family funeral rather than take a different car and just worry about their safety the whole way, but I'll give you the Reader's Digest version. How long is it from here to the eastern part of Tennessee? 12 hours? 15? Mom packed a huge thermos of hot coffee and in between conversations about family intrigue and listening to their music at decibels that allow them to hear but which also cause younger people to bleed from their ears , Mom and Dad talked about coffee. About the coffee they were drinking at that moment and about good coffee they'd had in the past.Coffee as an ingredient in other dishes. Coffee beans and different flavors of coffee. Great vacations--some in Europe--which were capped off by some even greater coffee in a sidewalk cafe. Also, they talked about foods that tasted good... with coffee. Some retired people use long drives to point out historical markers or antique shops. My parents intend to pinpoint every coffee stand between here and both coasts. "Hey...didn't we stop there for coffee once?" was heard more than it should have been. Two junkies talking about where to score some blow could not have been more repetitive or irritating. But I'm saving the details of that trip for another post.
Somehow, I guess, they feel I've failed to completely join the tribe of adults who can't enjoy life on the planet unless they're burning a tongue on a fresh cup of java or leaving coffee rings on the finance reports at work. I happen to think that I function just fine without it. Mother claims she can stop any time she wants to...but she just doesn't want to. And I could be the next President of the United States and my father will still get his biggest thrill out of offering me coffee ice cream, coffee pie or chocolate-covered coffee beans. I'm just praying that no one will make them aware of the fact that Coca-Cola just added coffee flavor to their newest crime against nature...Coke Blak. My friend Peggy says that once your parents start getting old, "you gotta love them where they are". It just so happens that where they are some of the time is all up in my face about coffee. And even though they're mostly joking, it makes me weary.
DISCLAIMER: My parents are really very lovely people and if you met them on the street they'd probably invite you over immediately for coffee and pie. I send you there with my blessings
And now for the part where I bring everything to a close with a point of trivia that is germane to my post.Since 1939 Margaret Hamilton has frightened the bejeebers out of generations of children.She aged into a really nice old lady who did not kidnap dogs nor consort with flying, bi-pedal monkeys. Near the end of her life she did, with great success, do commercials where she portrayed an elderly woman who shared the secrets of her favorite beverage with kith and kin. The beverage? Maxwell House Coffee.
Have a wonderful weekend!