Thursday, June 3, 2010

If you had told me 10 years ago, or even 10 months ago that I would give it up, I wouldn't have believed it. It has been part of my routine for more than 30 years. I learned to make it when I was eight. Scooping just the right amount - my mom would know if there was too much or too little - and then waiting until I heard the first plop that hit the glass top of the Corning Ware pot. I vaguely remember having to time the plops, but it is lost in time. After the alloted time, the burner would be turned to minimum and I would get the mugs ready. My mom and dad used evaporated milk. The kind of milk sold in cans that had a cow on it. They both took about a teaspoon and I would fix the coffee and try to bring it to them. Then, and only then, could I have my own little cup.

That is how the routine started, and continued sans evaporated milk and percolation. That is, until last year, amidst the chaos of medical situations and hospital visits, I switched to peppermint tea. Peppermint tea is mostly, predictable. I steep it for a long time and wait until the smell of peppermint tingles in my nostrils. Then it is ready. Coffee was becoming tiring. One cafe made it too strong, the other had line-ups out the door. The rug was suddenly pulled from beneath my comfortable, reliable morning routine. It had to change. Peppermint tea also meant I didn't have to go down the elevator, wait in line, look presentable, talk coherently, and pay what used to be the cost of a meal, for a coffee.

So, life goes on without my morning coffee. Surprising, but there were little side effects. I expected it would have been difficult. It wasn't. I expected I would want to return to the routine when I got home and settled. I didn't. Perhaps it was time for a change. But if you had told me that 10 months ago, I honestly would have thought I had a full-blown addiction. It is nice, for a change, to find out that you are not dependent on everything you think you are.

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