Black and Bitter

I love coffee. Black and bitter. Occasionally with a little foamed vanilla soy milk if I’m feeling racy.

It started when I was 7. Maybe I was 8.

Every morning. I would make my Pop his coffee. 1/2 and 1/2 and Sugar. I knew the perfect color. I loved making my dad his coffee.

My sister and I would fight over who got to do it. We fought over everything, really. Coffee was just another reason to battle, another measuring stick with which to gauge who “won” that day.

Mom was easy. Black. Black and bitter.

We would always steal a sip. Pop’s was sweet and mellow. Mom’s was deep, dangerous, and delicious.

There is something so hardcore about black coffee. Even now, I get a kick out of the way people look at me when I say “Black Coffee, please.”

I think my parents ran on coffee. With 3 kids born in 4 years, 2 full time jobs, a home based business and my mom in college, I can not imagine how they would have survived without it.

Pop’s car was always littered with his mugs. Weekly, we would have to go grab all the used mugs from his car so we had cups for weekend coffee.

Seattle coffee culture was they new chic thing in the early nineties, as I was just moving into my adolescence.

Flannel shirts, grunge rock and coffee shops.

Dirty long, florescent hair, skateboards, cigarettes and cups of coffee.

I, like most other 12 and 13 year old kids living in my small Northern California town, ate up every stereotype. We dressed ourselves in thrift store chic. We smoked Marlboro Reds purchased by the homeless guy in front of 7-11. We listened to Nirvana and wept when Kurt Cobain decided his coffee drinking, music playing, flannel wearing life was no longer worth living.

Plastered on every car in town from 1994-1999

I spent endless hours sitting in front of our local (now defunct) coffee shop (whose “Friends don’t let Friends go to Starbucks” bumper stickers I still see on cars driving up 101), smoking Marlboro Reds and hiding from my parents’ friends as they walked by so they wouldn’t see me smoking.

Tangent: I was 13, and certainly shouldn’t have been smoking. In public, no less. I have a habit of ripping lit cigarettes out of  teenager’s hands and stepping on them these days. I smoked for 12 years. Yet another reason getting pregnant rocked. I quit smoking and haven’t gone back.

Pop quit drinking coffee a few years ago. I thought something must be wrong with him. Quitting coffee? The man drank 12 cups a day for 35 years. How do you just QUIT? His coffee boycott didn’t last for too many months, and all is right with the world when I see him drink a cup now.

I do think he cut back significantly, and I’m glad, because coffee will probably be the death of us all if we don’t watch it.

I love the programmable coffee maker that grinds and brews my coffee before my alarm goes off. Waking up to freshly brewed coffee makes my day just that much better.

I love the weight of a full mug in my hand. The smell. The heat.

I love sitting on my back porch in the slight chill of a spring morning, wearing a bathrobe and slippers, watching the morning dew drip cling to the sticky stems of my tomato plants while sipping a hot, steamy cuppajoe. Puttering around, checking my drip lines to make sure they are all still working as required and desired.

Listening to the birds chirp. Watching my cats stalk birds and squirrels.

I have given up almost all of my vices. There were many. I’ll keep my coffee, thankyouverymuch. It is consistent. I can count on it. I need that.

What I don’t love about coffee: the feeling of a freshly poured cup being poured down my leg by my 18 month old son.

Just saying.


About dirtdonthurtmom

Beauty and Simplicity inspire me. Lack of clarity annoys me. Selfish people really piss me off. I have a filter, but ignore it, mostly.
This entry was posted in addiction, adolescence, coffee, food, gardening, grunge rock, kurt cobain, love, parents, smoking, teenagers, vices. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Black and Bitter

  1. Katie says:

    Coffee is my vice. Love it and cant imagine living without it.

  2. yo mama says:

    I’m so glad you’re writing. It’s lovely to hear your clear, funny voice.
    -black and bitter

  3. Carri says:

    Ok, I just love that your mom lists herself as Yo Mama, that’s pretty darn cute.

  4. Bill says:

    Pour out that old soul young lady!

  5. gramps says:

    Unfortunately, I just can’t handle leaded coffee any more—but Lord, I do love me some of that coffee aroma

  6. How well written is this post?! Love the nostalgia, the slow, flavorful rambling; then the abrupt leg burn at the end.

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