Sunday, October 22, 2006

would you like that warmed up?

(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.

I love:

Coffee icecream (yeah, now there's a surprise)
Coffee candy
Coffee yogurt
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, 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.


The Scribe said...

I love coffee ice cream and coffee yogurt. But you know what? I can't drink coffee. I've had about 3 cups in my whole life and it makes me sick (my heart beats really, really fast, for one thing). Your ode to coffee is something that I think a lot of people would agree with.

The Boomer Chronicles

torontopearl said...

I'll drink to that!

But you're right re. the stages of our lives -- waiting to turn 16 or 17 and "going out for coffee with the girls". Why the heck would I have said that at that age when I was clearly a tea drinker?

At work I'd drink coffee, primarily 'cause it was a diversion to get up from my desk, go to the kitchen and schmooze with others as I made the brew with more milk than coffee. And so often I got "Pearl...I didn't know you were a coffee drinker."

Frankly, I didn't know I was either. But...

"I like coffee
I like tea..."

Randi, let's go out for coffee one of these days, shall we?

kasamba said...

I see cofee really does have its perks!

Great post- just loved it!

Anonymous said...

Great post...I love coffee, but not coffee ice cream, or candy..drinking it just gets me through the day - and I'm only a one-two cup a day drinker. coffee - keeps me up all night!

Anonymous said...

I used to love the Starbucks frappacino drinks- until the fatal day I drank three in one day and got heart palpitations (I know what you're talking about, Rhea). That was the end of coffee yumminess for me...
But you wrote such a wonderful piece, c-m, that it makes me wish I could have some again! You are just too talented.
BTW- the picture is a hoot!

Jack's Shack said...

I love a good cup of coffee.

Sweettooth120 said...

I actually started to drink coffee (ok milk with coffee) when I was 3 yrs old. I am totally one of those wus who still drink my coffee with more milk than the decaf coffee itself.

One of my favorite memories is spending every Friday night in downtown Netanya (in Israel) with my father, drinking coffee at one of the square's coffee house. It was something that the both of us really looked forward to.

Thanks CM, I never thought about that before. What a wonderful memory to have before going off to sleep. : )

Baleboosteh said...

Well... think I'll go make another coffee!

Claire said...

What a great post! Except now I'm craving

I love your writing, sweetheart!


Ezzie said...

MMmm... I should definitely go downstairs to the Starbucks in my building for a venti caramel with whip latte...

I never thought of it that way, but I think you're right. Coffee is definitely partly social - which is why Starbucks is such a huge hit. I LOVE the Starbucks near my parents because I used to go, get the paper, and sit there for over an hour in this huge comfy chair listening to their soft music sipping on a latte (okay, two).

PsychoToddler said...

My Grandma served coffee everything. Coffee candy, coffee ice cream, to be washed down with coffee. No wonder she was always so hyper.

Mia said...

Unfortunately I dislike coffee big time. I always wished I could drink coffee, enjoy coffee, go for a coffee. Especially in Israel where coffee looks sooo yummy.

When I started to have migraine's I found out that coffee is one of the best medicine. So a double espresso has become a medicine and there is really no pleasure in that.

Sweden is the nation of coffee, all is about coffee and while they drink coffee they already talk about the next coffee. but luckily these days I can drink tea and be socially accepted :D

Chana said...

I ma with you, scribe, Can't stand coffee, but looove coffee ice cream, candy, etc.

I have a new URL - if you are one of my few readers, come and bookmark me! :)

Ezer K'negdo said...

We have a local place here that is amazing. As much as Starbucks is an honest company, I prefer to support local businesses. Our coffee house makes its own, doughnuts, btw, Randi, so when you visit you can have your fix of both :-)

Mildred Garfield said...

I love coffee too!! Must have a coffee break about 3:00 every afternoon no mater where I am.

My local supermarket has a
Dunkin Donuts concession in the store so I pull up a bench and have my coffee break. Need the rest and the coffee.!

cruisin-mom said...

Rhea: thanks for stopping by again. Yeah, I guess coffee isn't for everyone.

T.P.: leave it to you to come up with a poem :)

kasamba: LOLOL!

bubbyt: thanks for stopping by. 2 cups a day...perfect.

RCJ: yep, 3 of those could definitely send you over the edge.

jack: what coffee do you like?

s.t.: you know how I feel about memories and dad's...I'm glad this reminded you of that sweet memory you have of him.

baleboosteh: good for you!!!

claire: thanks. You are one of the youngest people (besides Ezzie) that visits here...I'm glad you enjoy!

Hi Ezzie: Yeah, Starbuck's has done a good job of making it comfy to sit there for a long time.

P.T.: my grandparents drank Sanka...anyone remember that?

Mia: yep, coffee is great for a headache. Unless of course, you are trying to stop drinking coffee, which causes a terrible headache (caffeine withdrawal)!

Chana: funny, to love coffee flavor but not coffee :)

E.K.: you know I would love to visit (and not just for donuts!...I know you and I would talk for hours and hours, til they would kick us out!)

Mildred: great to see you here! donuts and coffee in the afternoon...a girl after my own heart!

Ezzie said...

How come you don't have younger readers? You're the Cruisin' MOM! :)

marallyn ben moshe said...

my husband drinks 'bohts' hebrew for mud...turkish coffee...i love the smell of it...but no matter how i try to doctor it up it just isn't the same as my taster's choice caffein free cup of java in the if they could put that aroma into our coffee...hmmmm another thing that dreams are made of...thanks cruisin for another great post...stay safe

Jack's Shack said...

I am rather fond of Peets. I like a good Turkish blend as well.

Confession of the morning. When I was Editor-in-Chief of my college newspaper I routinely drank 20 cups+ a day.

Then again I was on campus from around 8 am to 10:30 or so at night.

Wendy said...

I, too, am a big coffee fan. It is a big part of our day, too...every morning I awake to the sound of coffee grinding. I love how you write about the changing role of coffee in your life - very cool stuff. Thanks!

Note: When Andrew & I were newlyweds, the kitchen in our house was in front of the house. One day, a neighbor told me that she thought it was so sweet that A & I drank coffee and read the paper together every morning. I agreed but thought is was major creepy that she watched us do so!

cheated are the clouds said...

Cruisin how do you do it, antastic writing and you stumbled upon something i had never thought of, our morning cup of coffee with my dear wife and I is such a special time, and your right we talk about everything under the sun, never thought of it as a special time but yea it is, maybe I should pay a little more attention in the mornings, nice view point I enjoyed it

cruisin-mom said...

Ezzie: go figure...must be the MOM part that throws 'em :)

MBM: not so sure about Turkish mud OR taster's choice!

Jack: I actually havent' tried Peet's yet. 20 cups a day...YIKES!

Wendy: I think I would like the SMELL of coffee grinding each day. Yes, that is a little creepy about the neighbor.

CATC: awww, thanks!

somewhere over the rainbow said...

Great post. What coffee is for you is tea for me. Most people can't imagine that we don't even have a coffee machine at home. I rarely drink coffe and if mostly espresso. But I love coffee ice cream.

somewhere over the rainbow said...

I remember my mother telling me: " When you will be grown up, you will like coffee." I guess I have not grown up yet. But every now and then an Espresso is ok or a Latte Machiatto form Starbucks.

the only way i know said...

coffee's one of my favourite flavours!
Howard Shcultz mustve been incredibly intuitive and farsighted..
nothing like coffee with friends..
(love the dog years comparison! lol)

cruisin-mom said...

Somewhere: thanks for commenting. It's funny about the grown-up thing. I think that's why I started drinking it at I could feel grown-up.

towik: It's as a social thing...brilliant! Glad you like the dog years comparison!

Wishing I was a said...

Well, as you know, I'm addicted to Mocha Cappacinos, hot, cold, luke warm, it doesn't matter, as long as I have my "mocha fix" for the day! It's been so long since I've had coffee with cream and sweet and low, the old standard! Usually it's accompanied with some rich dessert that just HAS to be "cut" or washed down with coffee! By the way, I'd run over a squirrel (I was going to say old lady, but don't want to be TOO offensive)to get to some Mocha Chip ice you'd better stay out of my way.....

cruisin-mom said...

wishing: fess up, you'd run over an old lady! :)