I’m known as being the girl obsessed with coffee.
I’ll own it.
I always have a hint of shock and awe when I meet someone who does not like coffee. I just stare and think, “I accept the challenge to convert you.” A friend of mine told me once he hated chocolate and bread. I immediately felt we could no longer be friends, but he is a coffee drinker and that covers most sins. You know who you are, be thankful.
But, I must confess that it’s not just the delightful taste and energy boost this miracle drink possesses that gets me giddy.
Nope. It’s my journey towards enjoying this piping hot, or ice cold, beverage.
Coffee has become a social lubricant, for lack of a better word. It helps ease the awkward first dates, break ups, and the ability to be alone in public. Or, maybe that’s just me. It’s evolved from the sludge our dads used to pound to keep awake so they didn’t hurt themselves when working late hours at the power plant (My dad never worked at a power plant, I’m just riffing here…) to what the cool kids do on the weekends so they can hold a mini symposium on new bands, books, and B-attitudes.
My first attempt at being a coffee drinker was when I was in elementary school and my parents bought a cappuccino machine and since it was so pretty I was under the impression it was going to a tasty sweet treat.
It was frothy, bitter, and awful. I’m fairly certain I made it to the kitchen sink to spit it out, but I make no promises.
After such a wonderful experience and several attempts after that- I gave up.
I was not meant to be a coffee drinker. I’d stick to other calorie filled energy boosters, like Mr. Pibb or HEB Cola. Yep.
However. Around eighth grade something shifted. I blame my sister fully and wholeheartedly. Amy discovered her love of a small little franchise called Starbucks, and they were popping up around Baton Rouge at a crazy speed. I guess that’s what happens when you can sell legal stimulants in a college city. You’re welcome LSU.
Amy and I soon developed a tradition of driving across town, since we lived in B-town and the closest Starbucks was a good 20-30 minute drive, go through the drive thru to get a frappuccino only to turn around and drive back home. My sister and I were never really close when we lived in the same house. She’s five years old than me and was always on the next stage of life when I was stuck two steps back. I was “the little sister” and I was good at it. I look back on my shenanigans I put her through and I’m almost embarrassed. She, however, was a trooper and did not hold it against me. During those car rides to Starbucks we started talking. We had never really talked before, or hung out on our own volition. This was new, and I liked it.
I was raised around adults for the most part. Most of my childhood was filled with Bible college students who were ten years older than me at least. I spent most weekends hanging out in the girls dorm at IBC. My sisters friends were constantly around, and I was good with them or that’s how I remember it. In fact, one of the Bible college students recently told me she named her daughter after me. So I apparently could make a good impression on the older demographic. My poor sister on the other hand, bore the brunt of my prepubescent lashings. Bless her heart.
I remember my relationship with my sister took a dramatic change one night when she asked if I wanted to go into Starbucks and sit, rather than just go through the drive-thru. I was floored. You mean…sit? Talk? In public? Shut the front door…
I didn’t curse back then for fear of my soul, thanks BCS, but if I had…I would have in saying, “Yes!!!!!!!!” (I never use more than two exclamation points, so this was obviously big)
So, we sat outside of Starbucks on College Avenue drinking our coffee and baring our souls for over four hours. This shifted everything. Amy started picking me up and taking me to her dorm room to hang out. We started stalking her soon to be boyfriend at the campus bookstore. We started meeting for coffee on a regular basis, and not a drive thru trip.
Coffee became a bonding agent. It’s kept this same feel for me over the years. I am not a fan of meeting people for dinner, or drinks, when I haven’t seen them in a whilte. For one thing, if there’s food- good bye talking, hello feed time. If there’s alcohol- I am a lightweight in this regard. I become obnoxious and giggly. It’s ugly.
Coffee is safe.
Over the years I’ve experienced some of the best conversations and been able to get to know people on a deeper level over a cup of coffee. My best friends now were invested in over numerous coffee dates. We’ve had soul searching, anger rants, secret reveals, and chit chat with the common denominator being that glorious agent.
I’m probably making more of this then should be, but it’s how I feel when I hold a mug of coffee. I think of my sister, my dad’s apple mug he drank from every day, the sweet moments with friends, and times I spit out my frappuccino on my friend Ben when he made me laugh unexpectedly.
So, I can be made fun of for my undying love of caffeinated goodness. It means more than just a favorite drink, it means family.