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sustenance

March 25, 2009

I come from a coffee-drinking family, which probably explains why I have two Mr. Coffee machines sitting on my kitchen counter and one hiding under the cabinet in my pantry JUST IN CASE. I drink at least three cups in the morning, one mid-afternoon and then two more after dinner.

Yes, I know: Coffee is bad for you. Coffee causes global warming. Coffee is the reason my Mom’s backyard fence was destroyed in Hurricane Ike. Coffee is the devil’s brew. George Bush drinking coffee is like asking for world destruction. Whatever. It gets me through the day.

Night before last, I only slept about two hours because the air-conditioning unit in my apartment decided it needs CPR. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to sleep through a spring or summer Texas night without AC, but if you have, you believe me when I say it was like SPENDING THE NIGHT IN HELL.

Anyway, yesterday evening I started to fade around three o’clock, and by four I felt like my eyelids were weighted down with cement bricks. I decided I had to have an extra cup of coffee or two to make it through the chapter revisions I was conducting.

I padded out to the kitchen in my bare feet, dressed in my pajamas because I hadn’t bothered to change that morning. Why should I, when no one (except the entire Internet) knows about it?

I reached into the kitchen cabinet and felt around for the coffee grounds, then realized that I was out. By that time, I’d convinced myself that I wouldn’t make it another five minutes without coffee, that my entire world was going to crash down around me if I didn’t get a shot of caffeine pronto.

So I grab the keys, head outside, realize I haven’t changed out of my pajamas, run back inside, throw on a dirty pair of jeans from my bedroom floor, shove my feet into a pair of very well-worn flip-flops, search for my keys because I have no idea where I threw them in the search for my jeans and manage to stumble outside.

The nearest grocery store is about fifteen minutes away, and I’m thinking that I’m going to fall asleep at the wheel if I have to wait that long. Not only will I have to stand in line to buy a carton of Folgers, but then I’ll have to DRIVE HOME and WAIT FOR MR.COFFEE.

Then, out of the corner of my eye, I spot a Starbucks. I wish I could adequately illustrate the intensity of the internal debate that transpired. Should I go into Starbucks? What would my family think? None of us is inclined to spend $5.00 on a cup of coffee, not when we’re the assholes in the supermarket who spend ten minutes pulling coupons out of a plastic folder and arguing over the sale price on a carton of milk.

Not when there are small children in Siberia who can’t afford a cup of $0.05 coffee. I don’t know why kids in Siberia would want coffee, but we always want what we can’t have, right?

So I give in to the dark side and pull into the Starbucks parking lot. Sit in my car staring at that green-and-white logo. Justifying the expenditure in my mind.

If you’re going to write your book, you need nourishment. Your body NEEDS the caffeine. You’ll give a homeless guy five bucks to tip the scales in your karmic favor. No one will ever know. You’ll throw the empty cup in the Dumpster to avoid detection. NO ONE WILL EVER KNOW.

So I tentatively step out of the car, looking furtively right and left as though I might suddenly find myself in the middle of a floodlight. Not that it isn’t 86 degrees outside with a bright sun shining overhead.

You spent an entire night without AC. You DESERVE this.

I go inside and stare up at the menu, suddenly enthralled by the sheer volume of choices. Nowhere on the menu board does it say CUP OF COFFEE. Instead, everything has fancy names, and since I’ve never been to Starbucks before, I have no idea what I’m supposed to order.

Then my eyes find something interesting: White chocolate mocha. Wow! Coffee and chocolate all in one drink. It’s like a caffeinated dessert.

So I order a large (it’s called Venti) and carry my white paper cup out to the car. I take a sip.

HOLY CRAP. I’ve never used the words “party for my mouth” before, but that is exactly what this was. It was so sweet I’m surprised I didn’t instantly develop a cavity, but it actually tasted delicious.

I take the contraband home and finish it in about twenty minutes while I work on my manuscript. The caffeine begins to produce this electromagnetic hum throughout my body, like my central nervous system is overloading from all the caffeine and sugar.

Because of my weakness, I made it until nine o’clock last night before I finally gave up and went to bed. I doubt Starbucks will become a habit, but that white chocolate mocha was like a gateway drug. Now that I’ve tried it once, I think it will be easier to go back for more.

Just don’t tell anyone.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 25, 2009 9:34 am

    Oh my GAWD, you discovered the only thing I ever order at Starbucks! (except the vanilla bean frapuccino on hot summer days, most excellent). Make sure they put tons of whipped cream on top 😉 Wow, I don’t think I’ve had one of those in about 3 years now.

  2. Sam Tamlyn permalink*
    March 25, 2009 9:47 am

    Seriously, it was amazing. And I drink my coffee black usually, but the sugar rush just added to the caffeine kick. I guess if I ordered more than one per month, I’d put on twenty pounds.

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