As a kid, I woke up every morning and opened my bedroom door to be blasted with the strong, bitter stench of freshly brewed coffee coming from the kitchen. Espresso to be exact. My mom loves the stuff. So much, she didn’t have cups of coffee…. she had bowls of coffee… plural! One or two in the morning and then another in the afternoon. I’m pretty sure she drank decaf (pft… can you even get decaf espresso?) and purely for the love of coffee, because she still fell asleep on the couch – second coffee bowl in hand. She brewed so much of it so strongly, I’m pretty sure the smell seeped into my clothes like I was being exposed to second-hand smoke.
Consequently… as much as my Mom loves coffee – I hated it about 10 times more.
I despised that early morning stench so much, I decided I hated coffee even before I ever had it. When I was in high-school, a few of my peers started drinking coffee to “be cool”… y’know ’cause it was the sign of a mature, hardworkin’ adult to need coffee I guess. Of course I just laughed at them and told them I wasn’t interested. I never was one to follow the new fads anyways. Then I started my undergraduate degree and I still said I would never drink that stuff. My family and friends quickly started laughing at me. They thought I was so naive for thinking I could get through college without drinking coffee. I mean, when you think of “college student” what else pops into your mind if not a picturesque image of a kid slumped over at his desk, red-shot eyes, pulling an all-nighter with a giant coffee pot nearby. Well – I just laughed right back at them saying “You’ll see! No coffee for me!”
Well… guess what…
I didn’t drink a drop of coffee those whole 4 years, never pulled an all-nighter, and still graduated!
Haha – Did you really think this post was about me admitting how awesome coffee has turned out to be?
Yeah ok – well… keep reading…
So, I laughed right back at my family and friends, who were slack-jawed and astonished that I still managed to escape the coffee craze. Then I moved across the pond and started graduate school…
(Let the dark, thunderous clouds roll in)
I arrived in Scotland with more resolve than ever to keep off the coffee. Remember that image of college students I described earlier? Yeah well the post-grad version of that is about 10x more amplified. I had a little hope though, ’cause I ditched caffeine in general halfway through my undergrad anyways for other reasons and besides, this is Britain – everybody drinks tea here right? I can handle tea. Actually, after a year here I’ve come to really, really appreciate a nice warm cup of tea and a few biscuits after a long day of mushing my brain.
But then… it happened…
I got invited back to someone’s flat to hang out for a bit after Mass one Sunday. So I went with a few others and, of course, as soon as I got there our hostess asked if I wanted anything to drink. “Tea? Coffee?” Of course, I said tea. So she flew off to the kitchen to appease her guests and when she came back she plopped in front of me the biggest, roundest, cup I’ve ever seen in my life (Not surprised it was, apparently, her favourite cup). So, I picked it up maybe half an inch towards me to drink it and I could smell it… that all too familiar stench…
It. was. coffee.
She must have misheard me and got me coffee instead of tea! Can’t blame her for getting it mixed up either as there were like 6 of us there. What to do?! I couldn’t give it back and waste all that coffee – there was a lot of coffee in that fat, round cup. Not as big as my mom’s coffee bowl, but the cup was quite deceptively full. Easily 2 normal cups – at least. So, I decided to just be polite, suck up my pride, and gulp drink it. First time drinking coffee ever – I already can’t stand the smell, and after my first sip I confirmed I couldn’t stand the taste either. Despite my serious attempts to hide my pained and disgusted expressions on my face as I took the tiniest sips possible, she must have noticed ’cause she asked me a few times if she put enough milk in. “Yep… all – all good.” I said and put forward the most fake authentic smile I could muster. I wasn’t really sure what coffee is supposed to taste like anyways.
Well, by the end of the evening, I had managed to drink the entire thing and I was on the biggest caffeine high I had ever been on in my entire life. Actually, if anybody could die from a caffeine overdose, I think it would have been me at that moment had I drunk any more. However, by the time I got home and stopped shaking like a leaf, I came to a stunning realisation: “Huh… my brain… it actually works! Well – sorta… oooh look! A squirrel!”
And that was the end of my coffee-free existence… sniff There goes my stubborn plans to never drink coffee for my entire life. I only made it 22 years…
Unfortunately, as many of you can probably relate, once you realise the potential of coffee it’s kind of hard not to resort back to it. Plus it makes attempting to transition between 6 time zones multiple times a year a wee bit more entertaining… for everybody else that is.
Ok – and why the heck am I writing this? Well, I may have resorted to a cup of that “black gold” earlier, reminiscing our first horrific encounter, and this sort of 12am rambling is what tends to happen as a result.
Let’s just be clear though… I still hate coffee. If you ever see me drinking it – watch out – I’m desperate.
Please pray for me! I’ll be praying for you!
St. Drogo (patron saint of coffee… and multitasking) ora pro nobis!