Friday, November 5, 2010

Just Some Thoughts Over Coffee

I have broken myself of my intense coffee addiction. Meaning I can wake up in the morning and not feel like I'm going to die without coffee. I can even go a whole day without coffee. It's kind of liberating.

I've tried to get into tea instead. I even went to my favorite tea shop in Portland and picked up some of that Moroccan Mint tea that reminds me of Egypt. I've never bought it in loose leaf form before, and was a little embarrassed when the cashier handed me this:

I shoved the bag in my purse and tried to pretend it didn't look exactly like marijuana. I think if I lived anywhere else, I might have been compelled to stash it away in my wall safe when I got home. But I live in a commune, so leaving a suspicious-looking bag of tea laying on top of my radiator really isn't a big deal.

That night, I went into my kitchen to brew up some of my new tea. I couldn't find a tea strainer, so improvised with a coffee filter. A couple of my neighbors walked by and showed a lot of interest in the kind of tea I was making. Well, they showed a lot of interest until they discovered I really was just making tea.

Tea is nice, but it will never really replace coffee for me. Even as I type this, I'm drinking a cup of coffee. I'm done messing around with decaf. It's just basic coffee with a little bit of French vanilla creamer in it.

I know a lot of purists hate coffee creamer, but I can't really live without it. Okay, I can live without it. If there is no coffee creamer around, chances are I will drink coffee anyway. But it won't be as good.

Last week, I had coffee with someone I hadn't seen in a really long time. Five years, to be exact. He was my Spanish partner in high school and recently came out of the woodwork over Facebook and wanted to hang out. I was a little reluctant to reconnect with him. After all, the last time I attempted to rekindle a platonic teenage friendship led to an evening of my bandmate pretending to be a flaming homosexual and ended with someone almost getting maced in the face (it's a pretty good story, maybe I'll work up the nerve to tell it sometime). But he called me on an evening where I was trying to decide between the following activities:

1. Hanging out with the baby boomer crowd in the kitchen.
2. Watching Tweaked Out Elvis Costello play the piano while getting progressively stoned out of his mind.
3. Attempting to write music in a room by myself.

Somehow, meeting my old Spanish partner for coffee at the trendy cafe down the street won against those lovely options.

I got there early, ordered some herbal tea, and planted myself at a table. Enter Spanish Partner. It was a little crazy - he was exactly the same as he was in high school. Still short, still Asian, still wearing the same baggy gray hoody with the stretched out pockets. Still blasting heavy metal from giant headphones around his neck everywhere he goes. His hair is a little longer now and he's apparently done boasting about his ability to eat nine Milky Way candy bars in a day, but other than that he's the exact same dude I said "adios" to on graduation night. It was a little spooky but cool at the same time. Everyone is so busy changing these days. It's nice to know that some people don't change at all.

We went back to my place so I could give him the grand tour of the commune and show him my keytar. We ended up just putting on a Dream Theater album in my room and listening to it while making fun of what weirdos we were in high school. I asked if he wanted anything to drink. He asked if I had any coffee creamer. Not kidding.

"Um, yeah, I always have coffee creamer," I say. "Do you want me to make some coffee?"

"No, I'll just take a shot of creamer," he says.

I start laughing. I think one time when I was about 17 or so I took a shot of creamer because somebody dared me to, but it's not really something I've ever thought to do since then. But I get him a little glass and pour coffee creamer into it until he says "stop." I hand it to him and he proceeds to down it like it's tequila.

"God that's good creamer!" he proclaims. "Tastes just like the marshmallows in Lucky Charms!"

He convinces me pour some in a small glass for myself and consume it sans coffee. It was like being 17 and retarded all over again. Not to mention it was my sugar intake for an entire week. But it was nice. It was nice to just exist in a room with someone else and listen to music and laugh and not have to worry about anything awkward happening. I had Tweaked Out Elvis Costello on standby in case things got weird (nothing says "I'm not interested in being more than friends so please get out of my room" like an intergalactic hipster with an affinity for playing/singing Gershwin's "Summertime" while people are trying to have a conversation). But things never got weird. Instead, we discovered that we both have a secret desire to learn how to knit, so we made plans to meet up again to make scarves while listening to heavy metal.

Yeah, I don't really understand my life either.

All I know right now is that I just finished my cup of coffee. And I think I really want another one. Maybe I'll just make a whole pot with the intention of sharing it but then end up drinking the whole thing myself.

A few weeks ago, someone told me that coffee is terrible for you. "It's addictive! It does bad things to your body! I'm so proud of you for breaking yourself of your daily caffeine habit! Coffee will mess you up! You don't need to drink it!" they said.

I might have actually listened to this person if they hadn't been smoking a cigarette, a joint, and snorting who-knows-what simultaneously while they were saying all of these things. I think it was one of the most ironic moments of my life.

I shouldn't drink too much coffee today though. I don't want to be a completely twitchy mess by the time tonight rolls around. There's an art show going on in my building and Ryan and I are doing a little performance in my kitchen after the fact. It's pretty casual and word-of-mouth, but I'm still stoked. It feels good to be performing again. I get really off balance when I go for a long time without doing that.

I'm not sure what to wear. I got some awesome new boots last week that I think I need to wear tonight. Now I just have to plan an outfit to go with them.

My new friends here have been an incredible encouragement to me this week. They're actually the ones that talked me into doing the kitchen performance. "Look, you are a rock star," my friend The Poet said. "The only reason you don't believe it is because the right people haven't told you yet. But you are a rock star, so start acting like one!"

It was really cool to hear that from someone other than my mother.

Anyway, this post has become longer than I intended. I think I'm just avoiding writing my post for TASG. We've got a really good topic this week, but it's proving to be a difficult one. But I think it's time to brew more coffee, put on some good music, and offer some of my humble ramblings to ye olde Transatlantic Support Group.

Peace out, amigos. Oh, and also? Happy Friday! Reward yourself for making it through another week by drinking some coffee. Or by just drinking.

Haha. This is One Well-Caffeinated Lauren, signing out!


  1. Oh God, I love coffee. How did you ween yourself off of it? Did you go cold turkey? I get a bit glum if I don't dose myself up in the morning. I know it's an issue, but I'm loathe to try and remove it from my diet lest I turn into a permanently miserable bastard.

    I once learned to knit! Kind of. The TV was broken, and N's mum was knitting a scarf. I knitted an iPhone holder. It was immense. It also unravelled within a week. Knitting is hard.

    Your night with your old school chum sounds wicked. AND I LISTENED TO A DREAM THEATER SONG EARLIER TODAY. I only have two of their songs -you'll have to give me a crash course.

    Good luck tonight, I hope it goes really well. Also, before I go, I imagine Old Hippy Poet to look exactly the way I imagined Virgil in Dante's Divine Comedy to look. That may mean nothing to you, I'm not sure, but he was a poet and a guide, a mentor - in short a very good guy to have around.

  2. Coffee is my god. I like mine black, and if I don't have at least one cup per day I get intense headaches.

    I love mint tea, though. I think it's a great drink for unwinding after a long day. Marijuana's good for that, too :)

  3. Lauren I work at a coffee shop - when I finally get to quit that awful job I will miss my lattes. Also, I'm a tea addict in the morning. It's just my routine. The house I'm pet sitting at this weekend doesn't have a kettle! I might have to do it hotel style and boil water using the coffee maker.

    I can knit - well I can knit scarves. I'm too impatient for patterns and such.

    Have an awesome kitchen show AND your TASG post is awesome.

  4. I didn't drink coffee all week because I was in the process of developing a fantastic sinus infection, but I had two cups today and then a greek coffee after dinner and I feel FANTASTIC!

    Like I always say, I'll give up carbs and chocolate before I give up coffee and red wine. Said like a true Mediterranean.

  5. I used to need to drink coffee every morning or else my head would hurt so bad I couldn't function. Then one day I got sick and slept for 2 days straight and when I was all better, I realized I didn't have coffee withdrawals anymore. I've switched tea now, adding milk to my tea is the best part!

  6. Now that I am an "adult" and have a "big girl office job," I have started drinking coffee. I will admit it really wakes me up in the mornings. I drink it with creamer too...right now I have vanilla caramel...which my mom (a black coffee drinker through and through) thinks is sacreligious!

    Hope the performance went well!

  7. I actually had to cut back on my coffee intake because it was starting to affect me in bad ways (stupid medical issues). But I don't mind so much. I've actually become hooked on regular orange pekoe tea and steeped tea, and the fact that it takes three cups of tea to make one cup of coffee makes me VERY happy, because I can drink that much more of it.

    I'm always incredibly reluctant to catch up with old high school friends and acquaintances. Mostly because every time I agree, it always ends up being horridly awkward.


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