Thankful for coffee

From glutenous to beige...

All the people in my world know at least a few things about me. I'm obsessed with my daughter, Garth Brooks cheers me up when I'm in a crummy mood, and I'm always attached to some form of coffee. As I get older, I realize that my list of vices is diminishing. I used to smoke, I used to drink. I used to eat all sorts of food that would inspire heart disease. My list of pleasures has gone from glutenous to beige. Beige is boring right? As I approach 40, my neutral and safe universe includes exercise, whole foods, meditation, journaling, and YES...coffee. I can't lose everything dear to my soul. 

Deficient scope of athleticism...

Growing up, coffee wasn't part of my life. Although there wasn't any rule preventing us from having it around, my mom always said she liked the smell, but the taste didn't appeal to her. I suspected that my dad drank it at the office, but had little to no exposure to coffee until one fateful weekend. I must have been in grade school, when my dad took me to the local roller rink. I had room for improvement with my skating ability, and considered it to be a terrifying mode of transport. Skating was frankly outside of my deficient scope of athleticism. I was desperate to fit in with my peers. After falling at least a dozen times in the training rink, I found my dad by the concession area drinking coffee with cream and sugar. My dad was always treating me like a real person, instead of a kid. He offered me a sip, and that was it. I thought to myself, "what is this magical concoction of creamy, sweet goodness?" That's when it began.

 Photo: NME.com

Photo: NME.com

Peanut butter bliss...

Unlike the rest of the populated universe, my town didn't acquire a real coffee shop until the early 90's. Starbucks didn't even show it's face until after the millennium (the caramel macchiato changed my life). Coffee shops were primarily located downtown and attracted a colorful crowd of slackers, punk kids and studious philosophers before the noon hour. One shop inparticular became a hub of activity for youth shrouded in angst and general dysphoria. It was open 24 hours, smoking was allowed, and on weekends- the rave scene was hopping. This place became a second home to me. Accompanied with a pack of Camel's, a journal, some playing cards and a peanut butter bliss coffee, it was literally all good. I began to associate coffee with freedom, friendship and creativity. I would watch my crush play chess for hours, as he emulated Kurt Cobain in his ripped cardigan. I played gin rummy into the early morning hours with friends that were so close, auditory communication was almost irrelevant. Coffee was the conduit for joy.

Facilitated my daughter's creation...

As I matured, coffee shops became a place where college course work was completed, tutored, or toiled over. First dates, breakups, and existential discussions with strangers were born. Something else came from coffee. I met a friend that became my daughter's daddy. Years of quiet and paralleled journaling grew into friendship, which became courtship. Our relationship has been of a co-parenting nature since she had a hearbeat, but her origin story remains unchanged. She will say to me, "Mama, I wouldn't be alive if it wasn't for Starbucks." The truth is, she's right. I'm thankful for coffee. I'm thankful for the immense pleasure and reward it brings me on excruciating mornings, or the familiar companionship it provides as I catch up with an old friend. Coffee took part in shaping my identity and yes, facilitated my daughter's creation. It's more than a complex and over analyzed expression of variables: tall, decaf, soy, blah blah blah... It's joy in my cup with extra ice. Thank you coffee. Happy gratitude Tuesday. What are you grateful for?

AM