(this post inspired by Wendy)
I love coffee.
I started drinking it when I was 16 and never looked back. I suppose at the time it was the one thing I could do to feel mature...sit in Dupar's coffee shop and drink coffee...just like a grown-up .
My little Russian Nana (grandmother) used to ask me: "Honey, vhy do you drink that dirty vater?"
Yeah...tell that to Howard Schultz, founder of Starbucks. Who knew, that 20 years later that dirty vater would become an industry unto itself. (well, not that coffee wasn't already an industry, it's just that who knew it would become a "designer" industry).
And why is it that Starbuck's is so popular?...How come people flock to pay $3.00 for something that was only 50 cents, with free refills to boot, not so long ago?
Now, this may surprise you, but I like my coffee black. That's right, you heard me; BLACK. None of this wussy cream or sweet and low or sugar for me...uh uh; oh no.
What is it about coffee that makes it so irresistible? I can't get enough of coffee flavor.
Coffee icecream (yeah, now there's a surprise)
Coffee cake (does that count?)
Now, I'm sure the caffeine has nothing to do with it. That morning jolt and rush, that comes after those two mouthwatering cups that I savor each morning means nothing to me. Really.
It's simply the magnificent flavor that beckons me back everytime.
But I started to think, what has coffee meant to me throughout my life? As I approach the ripe age of 51, I realize that my coffee habits are simply a reflection of my life stages.
As a teenager, coffee was the gateway to dating. It meant staying up late, talking, giggling, and flirting. Yes, drinking coffee was just part of the early mating ritual. If you drank coffee at 16, it signaled to the boys that you were "mature" enough to date.
On to college. Of course, coffee is mandatory in college. How else can you pull an "all nighter" that it takes to start and finish a 20 page paper that's due the next day? In fact, I'd have to say that through my twenties, coffee was essential.
Coffee got me up every morning to face a treasure trove of jobs all through my twenties. It kept me going at night so I could stay up late, while my girlfriends and I were on the hunt for the perfect man each weekend. Did I just say that out loud?
thank goodness Mr. Cruisin came along when I was 27...that hunt was getting pretty old. Perhaps having Dick Cheney along would have sped things up.
Coffee shops were where some of my most memorable conversations with friends about life, love, politics, and religion were held into the wee hours of the morning.
Marriage and then babies came along. You know, those sweet little beings that, although under 2 feet tall and often less than 8 pounds, control every move you make. Within a few months, I actually began to look like I could've auditioned for a part in Michael Jackson's Thriller video.
But once again, the faithful java was there...waking me each morning, so I could perform my motherly duties.
And all through my forties and now into my, ahem, choke, cough, fifties...coffee has been a social bridge.
The local Starbucks on a Sunday morning, for many years, was the place to be. After the movies on a Saturday night, let's go out for coffee. Now, I'm too lazy to go out to Starbuck's on a Sunday morning, and who bothers with the movies anymore...finding a good one is almost impossible.
But the last several years, coffee has continued to perform a very important function.
Each and every morning, Mr. Cruisin and I sit at the kitchen table drinking coffee. This is where we quietly, calmly discuss:
our lives, children, politics, work, what's broken and needs to be fixed, who is ill, and who is doing great things, will we always stay in this house, should we go out with so and so next weekend, didn't you love Grey's Anatomy last night dearest (yeah, he really says that to me), what's for dinner tonight, and what's on your agenda today.
A simple cup (or two) of coffee in the morning has become our anchor. Every morning is spent connecting through coffee. It's the time we simply talk, with few distractions. Our children have left for their day, and we are free from responsibility and duty. Okay, maybe it's only for 50 minutes...but 50 minutes without distraction is like 500 minutes in dog years (or something like that).
And so it seems that coffee has done more than provide that extra jolt needed to get going in the morning.
It has provided the stability, routine, and warmth necessary for two people's hearts and minds to connect each and every day.
Hmmmm...maybe Howard Schultz knew exactly what he was doing.