you know what i wish? i wish i liked coffee. the people who love it seem to be so dedicated and loyal to their coffee. it's as if they slurp joy from a cup in a way that i just can't comprehend. when i was growing up, my mom drank tea & my dad drank coffee, so i grew up thinking that coffee was for the manly men and women should be dainty and delicate with their honey-laced tea. it wasn't until i was in junior high that i realized that women could drink coffee too and it didn't mark them as masculine.
shortly after i gave up on college, i started thinking that maybe i'd try the coffee bit. the people who loved it seemed more mature somehow, since coffee is forbidden to children due to it's supposed growth-stunting powers. i tried sips from the cups of others once in a while, but it tasted bad, so i didn't understand what all the fuss was about.
it wasn't until i was on a first date with a man who was the gymnastics coach to the kids that i nannied that i ever entered a coffee shop. he'd apparently been checking me out for a while (he admitted later that he & the other coaches all called me "busty nanny") and when we ran into each other in public one day, he asked me out. our first date was to include a trip to starbucks & then a walk around a park. sounded okay to me and i was pretty sure i could figure out something to order.
we walked into starbucks and i looked up at the board with all the menu options. i was overwhelmed by choices for things that i didn't understand. i wanted to appear cool and sophisticated and didn't want to admit that i'd never had a cup of coffee in my life and didn't even know how to order something since the choices didn't appear to be in english. someone in front of me got a cute little cup of something and i thought, since i don't think i like coffee, i'll just get myself a tiny little cup like that, so i won't have to suffer through very much of it. i ordered what i thought the other customer had, "i'll take an expresso, please." i didn't realize there was no x in it at the time. the barista asked if i'd like to make it a double. i hemmed & hawed for a moment, not sure what the right answer was, so my date stepped in & answered that yes, i'd like a double. what the heck, i figured, make it a double, whatever that means. if i'm going to do this, i might as well go all out.
i took a few sips and of course, hated it. i walked past several trash cans, wishing i could toss that dixie cup of toxic waste in and be done with it, but i didn't want to be rude. my date had, after all, paid about $5 bucks for the dumb thing. so i decided to do what i did in bars when i wanted to get my drink on, but hated the taste of alcohol. i turned that bad boy bottom up & slammed it. i turned my face turned away from the coach as i cringed & tried not to gag. okay, mission complete. i'd had my first cup of coffee. not something i wanted to do again any time soon, but it hadn't killed me, so i was rather pleased with myself. i sure was glad i'd chosen such a little one so i didn't have to choke down one of those big drinks.
we strolled around the park for a bit, making polite conversation. that's when the gurgles started. i tried to ignore them for as long as possible, but they only got louder & more insistent. i finally had to ask for directions to the nearest bathroom. at that point, there was no time for a leisurely meander back toward the facilities, so i left my dude in the dust & took off on espresso powered legs. my stomach was angry. very angry. it did not want to release me from its wicked grasp, so i was a prisoner for much longer than i would have liked.
i eventually got back out to my date, who by then was wondering if i'd snuck out a back way & taken a cab home. i didn't care to discuss the situation, so we resumed our walk, but it wasn't long before i was sprinting back again for another round. after i emerged for the second time i couldn't even look the coach in the eye, but i asked him to take me home. i told him i wasn't feeling well and maybe we could try again another day.
it wasn't until i met my husband, who is a coffee junkie, just a few months after that that i heard him say that coffee is a natural diuretic. i don't even remember the context of why he said that, but when he did, it all fell into place in my head & i realized what had happened that day in the park. i asked him about espresso and learned that it packs an extra punch, which is why it's served in such small quantities.
chris & i spent a lot of time in coffee shops while we were dating, playing checkers and listening to bands, but i made it a habit to never order coffee. i didn't care for a repeat performance, so it was steamers all the way for me.