That got your attention, didn’t it? Most everyone I know is obsessed with at least one of those things. However, if those three don’t do it for you, feel free to interject with the appropriate noun.
What is it about those certain mornings? You get up, make coffee, putter around patiently until it’s ready and WHAMMO, you’re kicked in the head by the most glorious taste sensation ever. God, it’s good. Really good. Exactly the right balance between bitter and sweet. It lingers in the back of your mouth. The flavor fades slowly, like chocolate or wine — but so much less decadent. It’s giving you go! Full speed ahead! Next sip, please.
Or you visit you favorite coffee house and sidle up to the counter, optimistic that your steaming cup will have all the right stuff. (My all-time fave is Flying Star in Albuquerque. What IS it about that coffee? Why is it so good? Why is it ALWAYS so good? And why can’t I replicate that at home???) Frankly, I don’t even like steaming cups of coffee. Too hot to drink. But I’ll patiently wait for the very-warm-but-not-so-hot-as-to-be-painful temperature in order to drink it. Best moment of the day.
But let’s talk about the reality of coffee. Not every cup is a great one. Most are good. A few are disappointing. Some are downright awful. But I drink coffee religiously anyway. I celebrate the really good ones, accept the merely moderate and try to be good natured about enduring the terrible ones. Hey, if it’s so very bad, I can just choose not to drink it, right?
There is no not-drinking-the-coffee.
Coffee is coffee. If you love it (and believe me, I do) you take the good with the bad. Every poorly made, watery excuse for a cup of coffee makes you appreciate those outrageously good ones you’ve enjoyed in the past. And, of course, hope to again.
But there’s no guarantee. Except in the case of Flying Star, which consistently wows me, there’s no knowing how a cup of coffee will hit you. Most mornings it’s a pleasant addition to your day. Sometimes it’s hardly worth noticing. It gets to be a regular thing, that morning brew. It’s a ritual. Coffee is an essential component of the daily routine that begins with a groggy greeting to the dogs and culminates in getting myself out the door for work. All the while tasting pretty darned good.
Then, one morning, out of nowhere, the coffee is really good. I mean NOTICEABLY good. Wow! Okay, how did I do that? Was it a certain type of bean? New half and half? The amount of time I left it in the French press? Maybe I added just a pinch more sugar? Or a pinch less? I never really know what makes it so good that particular time. In fact, I don’t even try to figure it out anymore. I enjoy my morning coffee. On mornings when it’s particularly good, I get to wear a secret smile. I can wear it all day if I want, every time I revisit that first, best moment of flavor. Yum.
I also have a regular haunt for my morning brew. It’s not Flying Star. I don’t need perfection every morning. It would get boring. Plus I’d have to drive 60 miles for it. That’s excessive, even for ecstatically good coffee. Nope. My regular spot is just across the street from where I work. Java Joe’s. I love the place. Coffee there is like coffee at home: generally good, occasionally really good. And every once in a while, I’m surprised by a wow moment, not knowing exactly why but happy to enjoy the experience. I’ve never had a bad cup of coffee there and don’t expect to. I have faith that Dave, the owner, and his ever changing but always enthusiastic staff won’t fail me. Plus, I like the ambience. People come and go. There’s a good buzz of energy (no pun intended). I’m infused with appreciation for humanity when I watch hippies, construction workers, firemen, professional types in business casual, and hipsters from MeowWolf come and go. I especially enjoy seeing a group of ROMEOs (Retired Old Men Eating Out) that gather about once a week around the corner table. Java Joe’s is homey. It’s where I meet my friends. It’s where I make notes about what I need to get done. It’s where I write. I often wonder if the staff ever wonders why I’m there so often.
I was contemplating the whole coffee thing one morning, when it occurred to me that some people might feel this way about beer. In fact, I DO know people who feel this way about beer. Or whiskey. Or riding a bike. Or sex. Or painting. Or the morning newspaper.
Most people have a thing that’s their “thing”. Mine’s coffee. (I hope for sex, but coffee will do in the interim.) It’s the thing you do all the time. It’s your ritual. It’s the thing in your life that’s generally good and occasionally remarkable. Sometimes it’s so mediocre you forget to notice it. But you don’t abandon it. Even if there’s an epic fail. You just nod your head, move on. There’s another opportunity tomorrow for a good one. And if you’re lucky, you might experience one of those wow moments. Joy, pure and simple. Then smile all day.
Hey! Enjoy your “thing” today. I’ll be thinking of you with my first morning cup.