I was in University when coffee first began to take a hold on my heart. I remember vividly, sitting on the corner of the street in the early morning, waiting for my bus to arrive and take me to my part-time job as a special needs teachers aid at Kaikorai Valley College. The night would still be hanging around like a morose teenager and the miserable Dunedin winter weather biting into me. I developed a ritual on those cold mornings. I would order a cup of coffee and use it as a hand warmer. I'd drink it too of course. Equally enjoyable was how the hot liquid also warmed up my brain. It tasted like shit but then I was a student and my sophisticated palette was in its infancy. I was happy to just be eating on most occasions.
When I was a kid I knew of only one kind of coffee and it came out of a pot and cafes sold sausage rolls, sandwiches and lamingtons. Something changed. I began to notice it in the late 90's. Our village in Titirangi had a hardware store that stopped selling ladders and started selling lattes, changing its name to The Hardware Cafe. The coffee they served was different, it tasted good and was prepared with care. Coffee culture blossomed. It was great to meet your friends for a coffee, share some chocolate cake, relax and yet be oddly alert. Quite a delightful combination of associations.
I would often grab a cup of coffee and drive to the beach where I would write terribly sentimental poetry I was convinced was genius but what now appears to be depression on caffeine. I don't blame the coffee. The coffee was a buddy. It was there to support me. Whenever I needed a pick me up, or felt a little tired, I could turn to a cup of Joe for a lift. Mentally it often gave me the push I needed to break out of my default life strategy: procrastination. I found it motivating, was the kick start I needed when I had to do some droll activity, e.g. 'I'll get a cup of coffee and THEN do my taxes". Oh coffee, it seems inevitable that you were to be a crux of my "me time".
Coffee is what gets me up in the mornings. When the alarms sounds, I know I will be rewarded for the will power exerted it takes to get me out of bed. It is the image of that cup of coffee that I focus on in order to swing my feet out of bed and get moving. I know that once I get to that cup of coffee, everything else is gonna workout just fine.
I love spending long mornings in a diner or a coffee shop, eating breakfast and never refusing a refill until most of my blood is coursing with coffee and I've peaked and crashed for the umpteenth time. Coffee is more then a beverage, it is a symbol of comfort. I love sipping and savouring everyday all the great associations linked with this most comfortable of addictions.