OH MY LORD, are we out of coffee? Really? What time does Starbucks open? Not till 6 AM? What the #@%”&# is the matter with them? We are experiencing a caffeine crisis here, people. I cannot be held responsible for my actions if I don’t get some Arabica beans ground, and, pronto!
For most of our marriage, my husband Steve has brought me my first morning cup of java in bed. When I mention this to people, they are big with the “awww’s” as in “awww, that’s so sweet/thoughtful/romantic.” Not at all. Steve’s daily gesture is pure self-preservation. He approaches me, mug in outstretched hand, much the way a zookeeper throws a tidbit to the resident lion: keeping a safe distance, he makes his peace offering, hoping not to have his hand bitten off.
I vividly remember my premiere foray into the mysterious grown up world of coffee drinkers. We were on vacation at the New Jersey shore. I was 11. A family tradition was dinner at the Normandy Inn. One night as usual the grown-ups ordered that mysterious after-supper beverage known as Sanka. In as blasé a tone as I could manage, I ordered some Sanka for myself. Oh yes, I assured my grandma, I now drank Sanka every day. The steaming cup arrived at my elbow. All adult eyes on me, I took what I hope was an experienced sip. Wow! I thought. That was–that was—disgusting!
What began as a bad first date, soon blossomed into true love. By high school I was a daily coffee drinker. I never returned to the foul Sanka, but instead became addicted to the real thing. It was a wake-me-up, a pick-me-up, a keep-me-up (to write that pesky philosophy paper at 2 AM). I grew to adore the strong, slightly bitter flavor, the unmistakable buzz. Coffee was, for me, the most fun you could legally have.
And the affair continued, and continues, to this day. Oh, we’ve broken up from time to time (five pregnancies), but we’ve always found each other again (five minutes after each birth). Coffee is a delicious and energizing constant in a changing world, a drink as delightful to share as it is to enjoy solo.
Oh, I know I should probably quit. I should learn to love chamomile tea, hot water with lemon. But here’s the thing: I don’t want to. On the laundry list of vices, I think coffee ranks pretty low.
So bring it on, Steve. Help me struggle to consciousness again this morning with Café Verona. Give me hope. Help me cope. Give me coffee
About the Author
Elise Seyfried is an author of two books of humorous, spiritual essays, co-author of 15 plays for children, poetry and freelance articles, a director of Spiritual Formation at a Lutheran church, and a producer of five kids. She writes about her hectic, funny, perfectly imperfect life. Elise calls herself a terrible procrastinator who struggles mightily with titles (hence the name of her blog, Working Title, and how long it has taken her to start it). She is a regular columnist for The Chestnut Hill (PA) Local and her work has appeared in such diverse places as The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Lutheran Digest, The Word in Season, Simul: Lutheran Voices in Poetry, Guideposts Magazine and the Wittenburg Door.