Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Beautiful Coffee Drinkers

Oh to be one of the beautiful people. To be one who drinks coffee in the middle of the day. To carry my styrofoam cup looking positively peaceful with myself. To walk into a coffee shop, order a venti, and walk back out, without the embarassing side trip to the milk-and-sugar table, the side trip characteristic of those of us who don't really like coffee but who drink it in an attempt to be one of the beautiful people. To wrap my lips around the tiny hole in the plastic lid, embracing the liquid warmth in my mouth, enjoying it for what it is.

On Monday I was in class and as I was bored out of my skull I thought I would write a list of things I enjoy. I had been going through a three-day slump of Hating Everything In the World Including...Everything so I thought it would be good for my soul to remember some of the good things in life. You know, considering that my life is so terrible and awful and unbearable and I can't even speak of it anymore. So I made a list.

The idea of a cup of coffee
Reading a good book

That's as far as I got before I quit. But do you see that first one? That one is a recent revelation. I have long considered myself a coffee lover, and indeed, I do enjoy a good cup of coffee. The problem is, I make terrible coffee and the coffee at school is never as good as I imagine it will be. In fact, most of the time if I actually drink a cup of coffee, it doesn't taste nearly as good as my imagined cup of coffee does. This is obnoxious. I can be watching TV or reading a book and the subject of coffee will come up. Or maybe I go to a friend's house and find that my friends are enjoying steaming coffee with their cinnamon rolls. Or maybe I am daydreaming and in my daydream I am back in Albuquerque, going to ridiculous lengths to stop by Sattelite for a latte before school, lengths that included waking up early, wasting money, finding a stinking parking spot, braving the cold and the Central traffic and being late for class. But then, when I decide I've had enough TV watching, or when I'm done reading, or my friend punches me for drooling in her coffee cup or I am jerked from my reverie, if I happen to get some coffee, it tastes more like sugary dirt than the beautiful blend of flavors I was hoping for. To be fair, the coffee I make at home tastes like sugary dirt, but Starbucks coffee, which they sell at school, tastes more like toxic sludge, acidic and capable of burning a hole in my esophagus.

So I have to come to terms with this. Maybe I have just been exposed to too much below par coffee. Perhaps I should suck it up and buy more expensive coffee for myself. Perhaps I need to learn how to properly brew. Or maybe, I just don't really like coffee all that much.

Once, a long long time ago, I wrote an essay called "The Beautiful People" that expressed the dischord between who I wanted to be, and who I really was. I am an entirely different person now than I was when I wrote it, but the point still holds true. Who I want to be is not necessarily who I really am, and maybe part of growing up is learning to combine those two people.

A little over a year ago I began seeing a counselor, partly for a class assignment, and partly because I really needed help processing the crazy upsidedownness that my life had suddenly become. Alot of things happened to me at once and I don't really deal with transitions well, so I spent some time in counseling. Looking back, I can't remember a whole lot that my counselor advised me to do, and I don't know that I came to any earth shattering realizations about myself or my life. And really, I was just as stressed and freaked out after I was done meeting with her as I had been when I started. It took another six months or so before I was able to stop feeling so overwhelmed and just be again.

When I look back and think about what triggered the change, I think I just realized that I needed to grow up. A large part of the crazy I was feeling was growing pain, the struggle between my childishness and the reality that it was time to grow up. And believeyoume, I'm not done growing up, I still have a long way to go.

So in honor of growing up, I think I will spend the next few days posting "The Beautiful People" in sections, partly because it is one of my favorite essays, and partly because it is a good illustration of Some Things I Have Been Thinking About.


Mario said...

Are we ever really done growing up? I swear, I'm still doing some of the stupid things I did Freshman Year. Completely aware of them but totally willing to repeat i.e. procrastinating, over-spending. Oh man.

dawn said...

Who I want to be is not necessarily who I really am, and maybe part of growing up is learning to combine those two people.

well said. just so you know. i think you are a beautiful person (not just pretty, but your character) and i look up to you quite a bit. just thought i'd throw that out there.

sean said...

First of all, you ARE one of those "beautiful people" (tada! You've arrived!) You and your accessory husband look so great ... so modern, so hip ... you have what the french call "Fries - I mean, style!"

Second, too much coffee is bad for the baby ... drink water.