Confession: I hate coffee.
I can tolerate if it is cleverly disguised in a frothy costume of cream and/or chocolate and if it has any sort of –cino tacked on to the end of its name. But other than that, I find it bitter and unsatisfying.
While I was living in France, I tried – and I mean really tried – to like coffee. It is served de facto during every break in the school day and for the first couple months I choked it down when it was offered, furiously dumping sugar cubes in it when no one was looking. Eventually we arrived at the lessons on food and preferences and as I repeated “I HATE coffee, but I LOVE chocolate” in every class, the other teachers learned of my deception and henceforth served me tea. Drinking coffee was also the civilized way to end a meal in France, and every time the waiter offered coffee and I declined, I felt the judgment tumbling down.
And I genuinely feel bad about my lack of coffee love because I find the whole thing so aesthetically pleasing on every level. I love the smell of the freshly ground beans and the color of dark coffee through the glass pot. I love the pretty accessories – the French press or the endless varieties of cups, mugs, and thermoses. And I love the ritual of it all, the grinding of the beans, then the slow gurgling drip in the pot, and then finally, the slow consumption that marks (for coffee drinkers) that yes indeed, the day has begun.
James does not hate coffee. Quite the contrary: if he could find a way to have it injected directly into his system, I’m pretty sure he would. Our kitchen is very coffee equipped, with the regular pot, the espresso maker, the French press, the perfect mugs, the fancy-pants grinder, etc. And I wish I was a coffee drinker.
Because coffee drinkers get to be in that special club where it is cool to indulge your addiction. The carry those mugs around all day like a badge that says “I am part of that world that understands and appreciates ritual, refined taste, and habit.” They are automatically more adult and professional just by having a mug making rings on the edge of their desk, especially if said mug advertises some obscure band/book/place/elitist inside joke. And I want to be there, in their world, drinking their coffee.
Confession: All of this is why, when James leaves for work in the morning, I carry his mostly empty mug around until I have to leave. Pretending is the first step.