Somewhere, across the ocean, an aunt of mine is stabbing out a cigarette at 4 in the morning, re-lighting another, and sipping her coffee. It’s a circadian move that mimics her mother before her. Motions my own mom makes, minus the cigarettes. An early-bird-morning ritual so pervasive, our family at large is made up of it to varying degrees – of early morning and coffee.
Of course, this is the whole world, really. The smell of coffee beginning the every day of the every man. Why sure, there are rebels. Tea drinkers, juice pourers, protein shake shakers, to name a few… but could they ever really overthrow the empire that is coffee? Could any drink be as ubiquitous, as symbolic of the beginning of every morning?
It has been ten years since I graduated from high school, which means it has been a great ten years since I drank coffee regularly. But “regular” was never the word to describe my former drinking habits. In a recent conversation with a high school friend – a Starbucks barista whose opinion I was asking on hot drinks – he recollected me at 17. Apparently I took a close second to our highly caffeinated English teacher, who was never seen without a coffee cup every minute of each eight hour day, who talked faster than light.
We can speed through the rest of the history. Girl quits coffee (dislikes “addiction”). Girl finds herself in a wise cup of tea. Girl only drinks coffee at weddings and breakfast diners. Girl and tea are in love. Fast forward to the present, to this past month, and Girl is once again forced to reexamine her life and her choices, her fate draped delicately across the sunset-encrusted horizon rising in the distance…
For some reason, a little over a month ago, I kept coming across article after article about coffee being great for memory. As I mentioned, coffee is prevalent in my mom’s family. And if you’ve met them – especially 97-year old Lola – you’d know the proportions of their memories are magnificent, elephantine. Add the dimension that, while my dad is currently drop-kicking Parkinson’s in the face, I’ve become generally sensitive to the preservation of one’s mind — and these articles have a certain weight to them.
Since deciding to reincorporate coffee into my [every other] day, for memory, for memory, there have been a few glitches.
1. I no longer know how to make it.
a. how to, what to — drip? French press? Turkish-style?
b. an unsustainable option, this
2. since I don’t live in Portland, and Starbucks is my nearest option, I have been forced to use terms like “tall” and “grande” instead of the more intuitive “small” or “medium.”
3. misunderstanding the blonde roast to mean a lighter caffeine content I spent a good week embodying Lorelai Gilmore, before discovering blonde actually contains the highest caffeine content.
a. the last time my heart palpitated that much was in high school, when I had a huge crush on Orlando Bloom and watched Lord of the Rings for 12 straight hours.
And so on.
Anyway, all this said, I cannot measure my improved memory for you. I also can’t say what it is I’m trying so hard to remember. But I have enjoyed having coffee in common with everyone again. Tea can be a bit singular, quieting. Coffee is a good drink to inspire more energized debates, more high-fiving. Coffee makes you French.
In completely unrelated news, I’ve been meaning to show you my window pane of late:
The jasmine is flourishing. The African violets are enjoying the summer heat.
As for the elephant in the room, the me who has not said hello to you, faithful reader, in two weeks, and now comes to you on a MONDAY — thank you for your patience with me. I’ve been fervently working on some art and writing, with deadlines at the end of the month. And these deadlines have coincided with everyone else’s summer plans for me. My road to finishing blocked by events totally unrelated to me.
The apex of these misadventures was a few days ago. I had stayed up all night baking 50+ cupcakes and 1 cake, before driving to work the next morning. After work, I still had to ice the cupcakes, and fondant the cake, before delivering them to my godson’s birthday party. I was ragged, beside myself. I thought of all the deadlines I wasn’t meeting. Hung my head over the blog I wasn’t writing. Rubbed the temples of my forehead which had taken to throbbing.
The ultimate redemption? You guessed it. Coffee. Blonde. Also, awesome co-workers who understood my cranky plights, as they lifted their thermoses to their lips, and drank.
Friend, I will see you later this week. THIS thursday. It’s a date.
Your ever grateful compadre,