The “Daily Post” prompt today challenges us to write about an object strongly associated with us personally. Here is the challenge in their own words: “Sherlock Holmes had his pipe. Dorothy had her red shoes. Batman had his Batmobile. If we asked your friends what object they most immediately associate with you, what would they answer?”
Okay, let’s see. There are a number of things I could suggest, but most of those would be red herrings, because I’m pretty positive that nine out of every ten people would say that if they had to choose one object they immediately associated with me, they would say a cup of coffee.
Yep, coffee. And I’m not talking about cappuccinos, lattes, or any of the myriads of other specialty drinks that people clump into the category of coffee. Nope. I’m talking plain old, unpretentious, unsophisticated coffee. However, it has to be fresh-brewed and just the RIGHT temperature. I don’t want it to scald my tongue, but I want it to be hot enough to stay that way for a while. And my day always goes better if I have a microwave handy somewhere so that I can warm it up if necessary.
Why is coffee so much a part of my life? Am I addicted? Well, I don’t think so — at least not in the usual sense. I can drink either caffeinated or de-caff, and I generally can’t tell the difference. Of course, I’m sure if I never drank anything except de-caff, I would eventually be able to tell. But the thing is that I seldom actually DRINK more than 2 or 3 cups of coffee in a 24-hour period. (And some days, I actually drink hot tea instead).
Here’s what happens: I carry a cup around with me — during my morning rituals, during my working day, sitting at my computer or with a book in the evening, visiting with friends, conducting a meeting. It’s just there. I take a sip or two, maybe another, and then half an hour later look for a place to warm up the remainder so that I can take another sip or two. I don’t seem to feel the need for caffeine as much as I feel the need to have something warm to sip on throughout the day and evening — or maybe even to just hold in my hands, knowing I can take a sip if I want to.
I think maybe there is an “addiction,” but it is an addiction to the comfort of that cup of coffee. It goes way back to the days of earliest child hood. My parents were big coffee drinkers. They always made a pot in the morning, often another at noon, and another in the evening. The aroma of fresh-brewed coffee actually has the power to soothe and comfort me more than any other aroma I can think of. Because all those years of being safe and loved and treasured in a home where peace and security were dominant environments in my life are indelibly connected to that delightful aroma.
I can remember so many happy experiences in my life — family meals, visits from beloved friends and relatives, quiet evenings on the porch, when that cup of coffee was so much a part of the experience that it just would not have been the same experience at all without it. And other times when some kind of trauma had come into our lives — severe storms and time spent in storm shelters, the death of a loved one, a local or national catastrophe that affected everyone in our town — during those times, the one thing that often pulled our thoughts and emotions back into balance was someone putting on a pot of coffee.
My sister and I were allowed to have coffee on some of those occasions, but only if we put in lots of cream and some sugar. Mom and Dad figured that if our cup was only 3/4 full, and half of that was milk or cream, then we weren’t getting too much coffee. As I grew into adulthood, of course, I was able to decide exactly how much cream and sugar balanced out the coffee, and gradually, I left off the sugar as one more way to avoid gaining weight. Many years after I reached adulthood, I was battling a nauseous stomach and, on a whim, tried a little coffee black. That cup settled my stomach so effectively that I’ve taken my coffee black every since.
I’m great friends with many people who do not drink coffee. And, in fact, my husband of 22 years could not stand it at all. (However, he was very gracious about buying it and even making it on occasion for me and any visitors who did enjoy it.) I also know people who insist that coffee is bad for our health. But several recent scientific and medical research reports have come to my rescue on that score. There are numerous articles in print right now that praise the health benefits of coffee on several different levels.
And my personal response to people who try to defame coffee because of its caffeine is that God says he made the seeds and fruit of the trees for man to eat. That coffee bean is the fruit of a plant, and inherent in that been is the caffeine. It is not something we humans added. If God put caffeine into that coffee bean, then it has something in it that’s good for us.
I need to add that I’m sure people can live a totally happy, and delightful life without ever drinking one cup of coffee. I tried to write that as my closing remark, but — to be honest — really, really honest — I’m not sure I believe that.