Coffee. Equal. Hot Chocolate. Addiction.


In light of my recent parting with caffeine, here are my ruminations on a 7 year strong friend. A eulogy, perhaps…

I was determined, naively resolved. I would never be that parent grumbling for their morning cup of joe. Growing up I watched my dad with his Yuban: black, no sugar, no cream. It came pre-ground and in brown tins. This is what my dad wants his ashes put in when he is cremated. My brother and I were about thirteen and twelve the first time he told us that. Years later my mom developed a habit of her own and a strong attachment to a considerably pricey espresso machine. This, of course, came post-second-divorce and was purchased in close proximity to a ’91 190E steel gray Mercedes (my first car) and a ten day family Christmas trip to Maya Tulum; all of which were part of her “I can do it on my own” campaign” which continues strong to this day. As far as my youthful tendencies, I didn’t touch the stuff unless it was blended with vanilla powder and simple syrup, eaten alongside a peanut butter cookie the size of my strangely large hands. Any buzz I acquired was largely attributed to the sugar content and less so the half shot of espresso that landed into my tasty treat.
But then I got to college. I gave up my Frappuccinos, I banned white chocolate mochas, and New York didn’t have Coffee Beans so Ice Blendeds were out of the question. The only thing my budget allowed purchase for was one carton of orange juice a week and one bag of sliced wheat bread. I was obliged to forage my remaining food necessities from the college cafeteria. The cheapest thing available to me was adjacent to the hamburger grill station and across from the pizza warmers. Two carafes full of coffee…brown, watery, terrifyingly dismal…crack.
Being of untrained tongue and nonjudgmental palate, I lapped it up, but not after adding a packet of Equal and a squirt from the hot chocolate machine. Eaten with a dinner roll found next to the soup station and oddly, bananas, I was in caffeine nirvana. My first cup sent me over the moon. After lunch I stormed into my dorm room, pupils dilated. I would like to think that I put on an entertaining interlude for my New Jersey roommate, briefly removing her from the doldrums of undergraduate life. This, I’m sure, is the wishful thinking of an hopped up egomaniac.

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