This morning, as I usually do, I ordered an extra-large black coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts. Usually, mornings afford me no time to enjoy a cup or two at home, so I look forward to my morning Dunks with great eagerness.
Today, there was a new girl at the Dunks I usually go to–our town has three, and two are on my way to the highway. I got my coffee, paid, and drove to I-90. I usually waited until I was on the highway to start drinking my coffee.
I should’ve checked the coffee right after I bought it. But I didn’t. Why should I? I ordered a black coffee. Orders don’t get any easier than that.
My first sip greeted my tastebuds with a blast of sugar. They’d given me a coffee with cream and sugar, a “regular” in coffee parlance. I looked at the sticker on the cup and, sure enough, it said “cream & sugar regular” right on it.
Gross! I really do not like anything in my coffee. Cream and sugar isn’t really disgusting, so I should temper my rhetoric a bit. But in the morning, when I have a hankering for black coffee, I want black coffee.
I want coffee so black, it can’t buy anything on credit.
I want coffee so black, white girls never go back after drinking it.
I want coffee so black, it doesn’t know it’s father.
I want coffee so black, it acts like Wakanda is a real country.
And so on–hey, don’t blame me for these jokes. Ed Latimore started it.
Anyway, I had a dilemma. There was no question I’d be buying a black coffee at the next test stop Dunks–it’s New England, so there’s a Dunkin’ Donuts approximately every fourteen feet. It was: what will I do with this coffee?
I did the only rational thing: I drank it. Not because of any sunk cost fallacy or whatever. But because it’s coffee. And it’s a sin to waste coffee.
Later, I got another coffee–a real coffee, i.e., black, and drank that too.
I feel no shame. Besides, I needed that black coffee to wash away the taste of the cream and sugar.
I didn’t start drinking coffee until I was 19, but ever since then, I’ve basically been on a liquid diet of black coffee and the occasional water.
Basically, I’m a highly functional caffeine addict.
I exaggerate, but slightly. I have coffee in the morning and least three or four more cups sometime in the afternoon. I make a rule not to drink any after 5:00 unless it’s a special occasion like a family dinner or whatever, but coffee doesn’t really keep me awake anyway.
In fact, it curbs my appetite and helps me focus.
More than anything, more than the caffeine, I like the coffee ritual. You open the can and inhale the wonderful aroma of the grounds or beans, depending on your method of choice. You add water, coffee, and wait.
And literally nothing tastes as wonderful as that first drop as the sun peeks over the horizon.
Other beverages are tasty. I’ve grown fond of tea before bed. I enjoy Diet Coke and the occasional root beer. I even drink milk from time to time. And of course I enjoy the occasional adult beverage: some beer, red wine, a whisky or a gin and tonic.
But if I could only drink one of these things exclusively for the rest of my life, the one I would choose is coffee.
Water is all right too, I guess.
A lot of coffee went into the making of my novel A Traitor to Dreams. If you like coffee, you’ll like the book.