So. I have a new addiction. It’s coffee. It started while I was in Aceh and it’s deepened since I’ve been in Jakarta.
I was never a big coffee drinker. I think the first cup I ever had was when I was in graduate school. I would drink it every now and then when I needed to stay up all night to study or work on assignments. While I’ve always loved the smell of freshly brewed coffee, I never liked the taste and I steered clear of it because, while it achieved my purpose of keeping me alert for whatever task I was trying to achieve, my system was so unused to it that 1 cup would keep me up for 2 or 3 days straight. I would be left exhausted and drained from lack of sleep every time. So I used it sparingly and only in emergencies.
During the last few months of my corporate life, when I knew the end was near and while I was struggling to stay engaged and not totally check out of my job, I found myself making a daily afternoon run to the coffee shop across the street. When I realised that I was starting to depend on my daily capuccino to make it through my afternoon slump, I quit cold turkey, which wasn’t difficult.
On top of this, I was a total philistine when it came to fresh ground coffee because I preferred instant. I know, right?? If I was drinking coffee of any kind, ground or instant, I would dose it up with sweetened condensed milk because I absolutely couldn’t stand the taste of black coffee. In 2015, when I discovered that the source of my acne was sugar, I learned to drink the occasional cup of instant coffee with regular milk only.
Fast forward to Aceh and early morning wake-up calls from the nearby mosques, which I had to get used to. I made it through those first few long workdays by the grace of God and coffee. Of course, it didn’t help that A is a coffee aficionado who believes that no day is a good day without a good cup of coffee, and who wholeheartedly encouraged me to drink up. I didn’t have a cup every day but I had one maybe 3 or 4 times every week.
Since moving to Jakarta, I struggle through a workday that is devoid of coffee. My local 7-Eleven convenience store is my supplier. They have a machine over there that does fresh brewed coffee, as well as one that does different flavours of instant. Every morning after I do my devotions and have a shower, I grab my wallet and walk on over there to get a large (16 ounce) cup of freshly brewed coffee. I get a combination of a capuccino and a latte, because I still can’t stand black coffee.
I realised that I may have an addiction problem when I went one morning to get my fix and there was no milk in the fresh brewed coffee machine or anywhere in the store, so I decided to get a cup of instant and it was so bad! I could barely drink it because it tasted so sweet and so unnatural that I couldn’t even taste the coffee flavour. I had to struggle through the next 3 days without coffee because they took that long to get milk again and I refused to defile myself with another cup of instant. One morning last week, I decided that I wouldn’t have coffee that day. My resolve lasted until 8:30 am then I said the heck with it and went on my usual coffee run. The 7-Eleven people probably wondered how come I showed up so late that day.
But why do I even need coffee? It helps me to focus while I’m working, especially when my morale was low. One cup of coffee powers me through the whole day. I was wondering if I should be worried about this but I’ve decided not to be since I have far more important things on which to focus right now. On the plus side, I keep my Sundays (my weekly day off) coffee-free because I try not to engage in anything productive on those days.
Now, people, you must understand why this is even a topic of interest for me. I spent literally years of my adult life living with a coffee addict and was never once tempted to become one myself. I spent those years buying top-shelf coffee beans and even grinding those beans, but I never, ever enjoyed drinking a cup of fresh-brewed coffee from my own kitchen. Now here I am, needing a cup every day. I had to ask myself why. Why did I never fall victim to the addiction while I was living with a real live addict? Why did I always dismiss the soliloquies over the benefits and joys of coffee for years, yet here I am soliloquising myself? Why did I always scoff and refuse to drink it, yet here I am now looking for a cup within 2 hours of awakening?
I think the main reason lay in the fact that I used to be a really inflexible person. I set an idea in my head and kept it set, and only dynamite could blast it out. That’s a part of being a judgy type of person. I had decided that I didn’t like the taste of coffee so I didn’t want to try to like it and really only used it when I wanted a kick to help me stay awake longer than my body would allow me to. I think I’m not so inflexible anymore (God has really been working with me on that) so I guess I was a prime target for coffee to take down.
I find that my body has adjusted to the caffeine kick. It doesn’t keep me up for 2 days and I don’t struggle to fall asleep when I go to bed; I drift right off as usual.
Ya, I think I’m going to keep this habit for the foreseeable future.