Monday, August 23, 2010

Passive aggressive coffee drinker.

Okay, I admit it: I am a coffee freak. I have been drinking coffee since the 9th grade, and haven't stopped since. I like (love) all kinds of coffee: dark, light, espresso, mochas, cappucinnos, you name it. I'm fairly certain coffee is the only reason I ever graduated from any institution or completed any difficult task. Ask me to live without it, and I'd ask you if you wanted a swift punch to the kidney. Seriously. Coffee keeps me alive. There was even one point in my life when I could drink coffee before bed and still sleep like nobody's business. Though I've toned down my habit a lot over the years, coffee still remains my breakfast of champions.

But before you begin to think I have problems (at least in relation to caffeine), please know that I do have some limits when it comes to coffee. A few examples:

1. Once while camping, we ran out of pots and ended up brewing coffee in the same pot we used to boil hot dogs in the night before. Somehow I didn't think meat-flavored coffee would be palatable (just ask Allison). So I skipped the caffeine until I returned to civilization.

2. When I used to fix books for a living, my coffee cup was always full. You try spending 8 hours with nothing but glue and paper backs and see how long you can keep your eyes open without the aid of legal stimulants. It's not easy. The one time I tried, I glued my fingers together and my paintbrush to my desk. Anyway, one day I placed a full, perfectly blended cup of coffee on my desk, only to discover a couple of minutes later that a freaking horse fly landed in it. Gag. I promptly dumped that sucker down the drain.

3. I'm pretty open-minded about different coffee types, except for instant coffee. Why? Because it's a poser, a liar, a weak imitation of what coffee should be. I don't care what you put in it, you can't hide the taste of cheating.

4. I'm one of those annoying people at Starbucks that will order the "grande-sugar-free-vanilla-latte-with-soy" with the practiced air of a true coffee addict. But I will never drink Starbucks coffee black. NEVER. I would like to keep my stomach lining intact, thanks.

These examples aside, I used to think myself a pretty hardcore coffee drinker; one who would drink under the most severe instances... But a visit with my dad proved to me just how far I have left to go.

While visiting my family last weekend, I put on a fresh pot of coffee while catching up with my dad, the man who introduced coffee into my life in the first place. Now my dad will drink coffee under any circumstance - I've even seen him drink Starbucks "dark roast", which resembles tar more than coffee, and which would dissolve the esophagus of a lesser person. But he does it like he's drinking water. It's amazing! Anyway, after pouring myself a mug, I turned my back on it for just a few moments.

Then I heard my dad said, "I think something just landed in your cup."

I peered in the mug, and was horrified to find that the "something" was actually two gnats. A wave of disgust and regret overcame my caffeine-stimulated senses. "Oh, gross! There goes a perfect cup of coffee."

My dad shook his head, "What? Just dig them out and drink it. It's fine!"

I shot him a grossed out look, "Ew... no thanks."

"Oh, c'mon Brittany. I do it all the time." And with that, my dad reached into my cup, scooped out the gnats, smiled and said, "Good as new."

I don't know what look was on my face, but it wasn't a pleasant one. Would I really stoop this low to save a cup of coffee from being wasted? Never! Hadn't I already had coffee at Kneaded Pleasures that morning? Well, yes, but... Would I let my tough dad persuade me to join the leagues of the truly hardcore coffee enthusiasts? Actually...

I seriously considered it.

My hesitation has led me to believe that I have fallen, no JUMPED, off the wagon of socially acceptable coffee addiction into the realm of "seriously, she has a problem" addiction. You will soon see me drinking the black tar coffee that has congealed at the bottom of Starbuck's coffee pots. I will give up sleeping entirely. I'll eat espresso beans for dinner. I might even begin drinking instant coffee.

Whoa, whoa now. Let's not go crazy here. Nothing is happening to me, really. I'm being overly dramatic, which is quite typical of me. Still... maybe I should consider giving up coffee?

Yeah, right.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Three years changes everything.

So, since I have yet to finish any new entries, I've been going through old essays and decided to post one of them while my tired brain tries to find inspiration for a new post. Yeah, I know I'm cheating. Anyway, I wrote this one three years ago (THREE YEARS AGO! How time does fly...) and I never really posted it because I was too chicken. But now, three years after that whole drama-fest, I'm in such different (read: better) place, and this writing doesn't bother me anymore. In fact, it was so long ago, and I've changed so much, that it doesn't even seem like I wrote it. But that's a good thing, right? Right. Anywho, without further ado, here it is...

"His Smile” - Fall 2007

I remember his smile the most.

Shining and brilliant, it never failed to inspire one of my own. His eyes would crinkle up at the edges and his entire face would light up like his joy was a heat coming from the inside. It was warm and intense, cool and easy, all at once.

That’s what got me in the very beginning. Every part of his face, his eyes almost more than his mouth, took part in his smile. It was a miraculous thing, and he wasn’t limited to just one.
Even now, I can pinpoint each of his smiles. I can tell you everything about them: what they looked like, how they felt, who he wore them for and when…

He had his fake smile, the one he put on with people he wasn’t comfortable with, or in situations he wished he wasn’t in. This smile didn’t reach his eyes. It was automatic, an immediate wall of defense. He wore it in public and it wasn’t until we were alone that he would let me coax it off of his face.

He had his sincere, completely ecstatic smile. This smile would burst into life without pretense or effort. A winning football game, a small kiss, or even just finding a new favorite song would elicit this smile. He could wear it for hours, and even when the intensity faded, the sweet feel of it hung in the air, leaving us both relaxed and happy.

He had his laughing-so-hard-I-can’t-breathe smile. His eyes would squeeze shut and he would clutch his stomach with his rough brown hands, shaking all over. The energy from it would buzz and giggle through me until I couldn’t catch my breath either. No matter what I was doing, there was a part of me continuously trying to find this smile.

He had his I’m-trying-not-to-be-angry smile. This was the smile I would see when we got lost because I wasn’t paying attention to the road, or when I reorganized his room without asking. This smile looked almost painful, and made his cheeks tight and frozen. It also made me laugh, which only kept it there longer.

He had his I-love-you-and-only-you smile. His eyes would soften and all the lines would smooth from his forehead. This smile could stop time, and often did. He would come so close that all I could see were the corners of his upturned mouth. But, I wasn’t looking for his smile then, not really. Locked into his gaze and the thoughts behind it, I lost myself in a world that only existed when he looked at me that way.

He had thousands of smiles, countless and ageless. But of all his smiles, there is one that stands out above the rest. It's the smile that I will remember the most, the one that is ingrained behind my eyelids. This smile I saw once and never again: it was the one he wore when we stopped existing. When he knocked on my door that night, he was already wearing it. It was a quivering smile, a wet and uneven smile, a smile that broke apart everything I thought I knew. It stripped the air from the room, pulled the life from within me, left me curled on the floor in a pain I didn't understand. He left me there and took his smile with him.

Now all of my memories of him, good or bad, are tainted with these smiles. Some of them have faded, others have haunted, and still others have left scars where love used to be. Though time has lessened their affect on me, I know they're affecting someone else... Someone new and different and beautiful in ways I never was. They have his smiles now, and I have only shadows.

That's it, and all it should be.

Vestiges of his memory are all that I want now; They're all I need to keep the parts of life I lived with him, the necessary parts I must carry.

So, I remember his smile the most, though it no longer remembers me.