I love coffee.
I love coffee dates. The last few weeks have been hectic with company, appointments, school trips, soccer practice, gardening, and the general stuff of life. As you can imagine, I am very excited to sit down and have a coffee with you.
I love this idea of “If we were having coffee…” because for me it gives me a few minutes to slow it all down. A few minutes to appreciate that the possibilities for “If we were having coffee…” are wonderful. It draws me in. First, think of all the reasons people drink coffee: to start the day, end the day, or get through the day, to stay awake, for taste, smell, habit, comfort, social, a new mix for Kahlua. The list is endless. Secondly, the creative jumping off points from “If we were having coffee…” are endless as well with so many conversation topics.
That said, if we were having coffee we would have lost count of the cups by now because as the coffee flows so does your story. I have been listening to your life story with rapt attention, spellbound by not only the details of your life, but by the amazing voice you share it with. A story teller by heart! With a deep drink from your mug, you re-emerge not noticing that you have a whip-cream mustache, and you look me straight in the eye. Your expression is serious and intense as you quote T. S. Eliot, “I have measured my life with coffee spoons.”
I struggle to maintain a serious expression given your current level of intensity, but that intensity coupled with the whip cream mustache is really too much. My face is twitching in a marked effort of self-control. Your expression is starting to change, falter a bit, unsure how to respond to my obvious struggle. I put my head down toward the table, hold my cell phone up toward you on reverse camera mode so you can see yourself. I’m shaking now with silent laughter, my head inches from the table still trying to hide my giggling. I feel your hand grasp the cell phone to try and see what I’m showing you. I release the phone to you, and as my hold breaks I’m laughing out loud.
I can hear your silence across from me, it lasts a brief second before you dissolve into hysterics.
As my laughter subsides, I wipe the tears from my eyes and glance up at you. You have gained control of your laughter, and you are deep in your coffee cup. When you notice me looking at you, you wink at me over the cup and lower it to reveal the mustache still sugaring your lip. We laugh again.
Gosh, that felt great.
You look at me expectantly now. It’s my turn to share, but where to begin? As if you can read my thoughts, you ask me to share my history of coffee, my evolution there, and you sit back looking smug as if this question is a challenge. I nod, and accept.
Coffee for me started in high school, with a boy. I drank that first cup, rich with milk and sugar, and I never looked back. Tim Hortons became an obsession, triple-triple was my order. Now don’t look at me like that. It sounds bad, but I had a friend that used to order a four-by-four!
University, saw me sitting in a lecture hall at 8 in the morning struggling to stay awake while the teacher lectured in the dark using a slide-show on paleontology and archeology. My morning routine for the class consisted of an extra-large English toffee, to which I would add sugar. I guess my coffee career started more as a sugar addiction!
By the time I finished university, I was drinking a double-double.
I remember being told by a role model of sorts, that you aren’t a real coffee drinker until you enjoy a black coffee. It was stated like a challenge. So, for a time I started experimenting with how I dressed my coffee. After a time, I came to enjoy my coffee with only a sweetener in it.
During this same time, I was highly sleep deprived trying to work full-time, and continue my education full-time as well. So, not only was I fueling my body with coffee, I was nourishing it with coffee beans! My favourite memory from this time periods was when I realised that I need to slow down my caffeine consumption. It was a nightshift, and wow was I feeling grumpy. However, in full caffeine withdrawal I was unaware that it was manifesting itself in an outward fashion. My supervision was this tiny little older woman. She was 4 foot if she was lucky, and she was a spitfire. When the coffee order came around I rejected, she looked at me point blank and announce in a voice of authority, “I’m buying you a coffee because you are a bitch tonight!” She stomped out of the room, leaving me with no choice but to join the laughter that followed her declaration! It was a delicious cup of coffee, sobering in a sense, but delicious nonetheless.
I wait for your laughter to subside before I continue.
I had never really been a Starbucks coffee girl, I think mostly because I felt intimidated ordering coffee there. However, I met a friend who loved Starbucks, and she had her own personal history with it. With her expertise I found a new coffee love, and I hung my Tim Hortons hat up for a tall caramel macchiato made with soy milk and extra caramel.
Some of the in-betweens included great coffee on tropical vacations, but those coffee memories will have to wait until our next coffee date. For now, we both raise to leave. As we part at the door, you smile knowing my love for great quotes and state, “Susan Gale said, ‘Old memories are like coffee with cream and sugar. When stirred, both can become mellow and sweet.’”
By Shari Marshall