Starting today, I’m joining The Wife in a month-long detox diet. There are a lot of reasons for the diet, and there are lots of things I will and will not consume. But right now, the only thing that matters is this: no coffee. No coffee. Oh, no coffee.
I came to coffee relatively late in life. After college, some friends finally got me to take a sip on a Sunday afternoon at a micro-roastery in the northern suburbs of Chicago. I didn’t like it at first, but there was something about the expertise around the place, and the hip SoCal Roastmaster, and the learning curve, and the new flavors that drew me in. We were new friends, coffee and I, but we became fast friends as I treasured this one indulgence in our otherwise spartan grad-school lifestyle, and as I found new fuel for my double-booked lifestyle. My Newport Coffee mug fit nicely between the front seat and parking brake on my Accord as I drove to the jobsite. It would get me to Areopagus (the Greek form of the now-popular ministry name Mars Hill), an evangelistic church-basement coffee house that was open until 2 on Fridays. It would ride with me as I listened to Steve and Garry (and then just Steve) down Route 41 on my way to seminary. Most importantly, the press pot joined with Smashing Pumpkins to energize my frequent Hebrew study sessions that started while it was still dark (the ‘D-’ I earned in that course qualifies as the singular highlight and lowlight of my academic career).
When I lived in the Bay, I drank Peet’s. Oh, sure, it was a little snobby (the guy correcting my pronunciation– “Oh, you mean Tan-ZANE-ia!”– was a little much), but they roasted the beans perfectly and had the perfect throwback feel to their stores. Purist that I was, I wouldn’t normally buy more than a half-pound at a time (and never more than a pound!). This also gave me an excuse to frequently stop at the store on my way to pick up The Wife in Berkeley to buy beans, take in a quick espresso, and grab a cup of drip for the road. Life was good, indeed.
I’ve pulled back from the premium beans since then, but I still hit the stuff pretty hard in the AM. How hard? Well, before my daughter could speak, she was harmonizing with the coffee grinder. I’m pretty sure she learned to make that slurping and satisfied “ku-aaaahhh…” sound from me. And last night, I confessed to the wife that on the rare occasion that I sleep a couple of hours later in the morning, I wake up with a headache. So, yeah, my one cup of tea this morning isn’t exactly cutting it. There’s no physical pain (yet), but there is a more-than-metaphorical fog around me.
But I shall prevail over my friend and nemesis.
**this post would have been better if I’d had a cup of coffee while writing it