Up until a couple of months ago, I never understood the attraction to coffee. I’d had what people call “good” coffee and found it nasty. I’d had what people call “bad” coffee and found it nasty. I tried it with sugar or cream or both or black or mixed with chocolate or cinnamon. Still nasty. It was a mystery why anyone would drink this bitter stuff.
And then I started falling asleep while writing. At first it was every once in a while. But by the end of the summer, all I had to do was sit at a keyboard and I’d start snoozing.
My first worry was: My God, is my writing THAT boring?
My second worry was: No, really, is it that bad???
“Pfftt,” said my friend, Paula. “Your writing’s fine. What you need is a half-hour nap or a hefty cup of coffee.”
I’ve always had a hard time with naps. It feels like cheating somehow — an irrational idea that’s stuck with me from God only knows where. But it’s stuck. If I nap, I do it in secret where no one can see me. (Okay. Yes. I may need therapy.)
Coffee, however, is not only a drink but a social event. It’d be good, I thought, to be invited to coffee and not have to say, “Oh, but I only drink tea.”
If only it didn’t taste so bad.
I started off soft; I bought a cheap package of instant coffee and put a teaspoon of it in a cup of hot water every morning. When I was able to tolerate that, I moved onto two teaspoons and two cups. Teaspoon by teaspoon, I forced myself into a new addiction. And it worked. My coffee addiction is on almost equal par with my popcorn addiction or my licorice problem or even my love/hate relationship with Diet Coke. I’m toting around ten ounces of terrible coffee wherever I go. And I like it. I look forward to it. Awful, bitter taste and all.
Easing oneself into addiction is twisted, I admit it. But it’s made a difference. I now drink coffee before I write. While I write. And I’ve stopped using the keyboard as a pillow.
In fact, I’ve almost stopped using any kind of pillow.
All that coffee’s got me up at night.