For most people, a cup of coffee is a routine thing. Hurriedly snatched coffee breaks at the office, leisurely sips at home, catching up with friends over a cup at a coffee shop, are all welcome routines inseparable from the brew.
The ritual in itself is probably what kicks that clinging tiredness out of the system, or maybe it is the coffee that actually peps you up, I wouldn’t know. You see, I cant drink coffee.
The discerning reader may at this point notice that I say ‘cant’ instead of ‘dont’. Sadly this is not a mistake. I have tried my best to drink coffee, but I find that I simply cant do it. The taste of the brew in my mouth feels strongly like muddy water (don’t ask me how I know, what that tastes like).
You might wonder why I even bothered trying if I cant stand the thing. Well, like I said, there are some routines that cant be separated from the brew. It is these occasions that have forced me to try my luck at drinking coffee. And I’m not even thinking of all the times that I as a hostellite wanted a drink that I prefer (iced tea in case you’re curious) but instead came across coffee shop upon coffee shop that would offer only the cursed brew.
I had my first cup of coffee when I was at school. A friend rang up to tell me that he was going out with some other people and that a few girls from school would also be there, and asked if I wanted to join. Regular readers of my blog would at once recognize a situation which usually occurs only in my dreams. So naturally I begged him to allow me to come, afraid that maybe he’d dialed my number instead of someone else’s. As it was, I neednt have worried. The plan was on, I was in, and we all landed up at a coffee shop.
This was a very novel experience for me on several counts. First, I was inside a place that only served stuff I couldn’t drink. You could say I felt like a 14 year old in a pub. But more importantly, I was at a table with girls I was used to noticing only from a distance. Sitting within touching distance was dizzying. Not that it led me strike any interesting conversations or come up with witty remarks. I was content with being an observer. Untill the order came.
Someone had presumed to order a cup of coffee for me. The thing had a lot of cream on top and I decided to just try it instead of creating a scene, so I quietly took a sip. It was something fancy, carrying a country’s name, but that didn’t alter the taste of mud in my mouth. I grimaced, but quickly rearranged my face to hide what I was going through. One of the girls was telling what she thought was a funny story, and I didn’t want to be found grimacing when she finished. So I gulped down the remaining mud in my mouth and for the rest of the evening kept playing with my cup, desperately hoping no one would notice that it was almost full (I had hardly said anything memorable and I didn’t exactly want to deliver a monologue on the terror that coffee was for me in front of those girls). But somehow I survived the evening after some close shaves.
Although I have now mastered the coffee shop scenario, by simply ordering iced tea, fate had a cruel twist waiting for me. If there is one thing I cant resist, it’s a donut. I do not remember a single instance when I’ve seen a donut and not eaten it. A filled stomach would find some room for the donut, even an empty wallet would not stand in my way, I would have the donut somehow.
A few days ago, at a mall, my eyes fell on a beauty. It was a donut glazed to perfection. I walked up to the display and stood there surveying it. It seemed to me as much a piece of art, as something to be eaten. Gradually, I recovered my senses and asked the guy at the counter for the donut. He nodded and inquired the type of coffee I would like. I thought he had heard it wrong. I told him I only wanted the donut. He replied that they only sold the donut along with a cup of coffee. He gave an encouraging glance at the machine that was spewing copious volumes of the cursed brew. I was shocked. I couldn’t spend the money on a cup of coffee I wasn’t going to drink, and the attendant, losing interest in me wandered off.
I looked at the donut. In that donut, I saw all that was denied to me because I couldn’t drink coffee. The number of times I had to explain to hurt relatives that my refusal to drink their coffee had nothing to do with their notoriety at brewing at. All the times I didn’t hang out with friends, because I was too tired to walk all the way to a coffee shop and get nothing that I could drink. The crowd at the shop gradually pushed me away from the display. Long after my feet carried me away from the place, the image of a glazed donut that looked like a cloud had descended to the very earth stayed in my mind.