Tuesday, December 22, 2015

5 Reasons Coffee Has Made Me a Better Person

Ok.  This has absolutely nothing to do with Christmas (other than the fact that I adore the white chocolate peppermint coffee blend that I purchased for myself as a pre-holiday treat), but seeing that I only wrote in my blog eight times this whole year, I thought I would do what any respectable blogger would do and write at least four more times before year’s end to make it look as if I had written at least once a month.  And, try as I might to come up with something poignant about the real meaning of Christmas, I kept getting stuck on things that sounded like they came from a 1980s Hallmark made-for-TV movie and not from the depths of my heart.  So…I decided to write about coffee.  Make sense?

First, the back-story:  I started drinking coffee a year and a half ago while in Spain.  Previous to that, the last coffee I had tasted was something my mom offered me in a Styrofoam cup with lipstick stains after we had helped some friends move when I was seven.  That experience left me with a disgusting aftertaste—actually and figuratively.  I never wanted to drink the demon liquid again; I couldn’t believe people actually craved it.  In fact, when I grocery shopped, I would often skip the coffee aisle because I hated the smell. 

But the summer before last, when we had traveled to Europe to hike the Camino de Santiago (wanna know more about that?  Start here), the rest of the family would hit up little coffee “bars” in the morning and order a café con leche and a giant chocolate croissant, and I would just sit, soberly, eating my giant chocolate croissant by itself.  I felt left out of the common experience.  And occasionally, I needed some unmentionable digestive processes to occur before I put in a 20 mile day of hiking and before civilized bathrooms were no longer available (I know what you are saying, “She never seemed to mind going in the woods before,” and you are right. But what you don’t understand about the Camino is that it is a very urban trail, highly traveled by other “pilgrims” who don’t take kindly to seeing someone squatting behind a building in the quaint villages along the way. In my ignorance, I didn’t know that coffee did that sort of thing, but, by golly, it does!) So, seeing that 40 years had passed since my last sip of Joe, and deciding that my taste buds had probably matured by now, I chose to be a certified grown-up and try it. On my first foray into the caffeinated world, I bravely loaded up my very own café con leche with lots of sugar and sipped…cautiously.  And because I had decided to change my mind about its abhorrence, it now seemed to have this mystical quality about it that made me feel mature and free and clean (if you know what I mean).  And I didn’t hate it…that much.  Now, upon ingestion, my chocolate croissant had a friend, my colon was rejoicing, and I had started to feel like part of the gang.  I even told my family, “ Coffee is going to transform my life!” That was just the beginning of a beautiful friendship.  And like any friendship of value, coffee has made me better.  Here are five reasons why:
5 Reasons Coffee Has Made Me a Better Person

1.  Coffee has made me more fun.  Because I am now a real adult, I can confidently walk into any coffee shop and order a Cappuccino or a Latte or an Americano with room for cream without fear.  I understand most of the lingo—the blends and beans and brewing methods and steamed milk and espresso—not EXpresso—and I can sit across from anyone, holding my warm drink in my cold hands and chat about light-hearted things instead of lamely drinking an iced tea in the dead of winter.  I now smile as I walk through the coffee aisle and I don’t plug my nose quite as much.  And I let myself get fun coffee drinks on Fridays because Fridays make me happy.  In general, I am less stuffy and more cheerful because I have found a warm, gentle friend in coffee.

2.  Coffee has allowed me to form an alliance with a new drink.  Diet Coke used to be my beverage of choice (read about my guilty conscience), but no longer does this tumor-enhancing drink—the name given it by my darling children—captivate me.  Now that I have discovered the miraculous qualities of this natural substance, the fake stuff doesn’t stand a chance.  Coffee seems to line up with the rest of my life since I can pronounce everything in the ingredients list: /ˈkɑː.fi/ bins/.

3.  Coffee has made me appreciate my morning-by-fireplace-posting-sunrise-pictures-on-Instagram routine.  I can now sit happily in my polka-dotted chair admiring my just-taken-that-morning pictures while sipping on a soul-warming beverage.  I look forward to my coffee/chocolate animal cracker routine daily.  It gives me joy.  Joy makes me more fun (see point #1 above). 

4.  Coffee has given me a fondness for beautiful, ergonomically correct mugs.  Lately, I have been sipping my morning brew out of a lovely, purple-flowered china cup that fits my hand perfectly.  Sometimes mugs are too heavy or too masculine, but this cup is like baby bear’s bed…it is just right.  I wash it out each morning and put it by the sink so I can look forward to the next morning when we can enjoy each other’s company.

5.  Coffee has allowed me to enter into a whole new subculture.  Although I still don’t love the taste of coffee, I really like the idea of coffee.  And a lot of half and half helps with that.  I delight in all of the names and cute little pictures on the coffee packages, and all the creative, very caloric ways one can dress up a decidedly boring drink. I think it is fun that I can make this little treat in the comfort of my own home at any time of the day.  Sometimes, when I make it at three in the afternoon, and I put a little chocolate syrup in the bottom, I feel like maybe I am getting away with something.  And sometimes feeling sneaky is good.  Sometimes feeling sneaky makes me more fun and less pragmatic.  Because, really, I am pretty boring.  But now, not so much because I have found a friend in coffee.  Can I hear an “Amen”?!

So that’s it folks.  Coffee has lots of perks. Here’s to the java for jump-starting my joy in the daily grind of life. 

No beans about it, the brew just makes me better. 

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