Saturday, November 05, 2011

"I hate broccoli, and yet in a sense, I am broccoli."

I'm reading DFW again, which seems to correspond with a compulsion to
write. Sarah's been writing too, and maybe there's some inspiration
coming from reading her daily assignments.

It seems to happen periodically that certain aspects of our
self-identity come to a head and we have to decide whether we are the
person we think we are, or whether we are something else entirely. To
wit: I am not a coffee person. I defined myself for my entire life as
someone who does not—ever—drink coffee. No. I am a dessert person. I
like delicious sucrosey treats. Coffee is bitter. It leaves an
unpleasant aftertaste. Sure, coffee is gross, some people
respond—until you add sugar and cream. This, like a cocktail, always
seemed like a copout. If you don't like something, don't have it. It's
just cheating to cover up the flavor you don't like with other flavors
just to get the chemical upside. Don't like whiskey, there are other
alcoholic options, and the same can be said for caffeinated beverages.

Coffee is a false prophet. It's for the weak-minded—those who lack the
intrinsic motivation and focus to get shit done. They need a
performance enhancer, a minor steroid for the mind—HGH, creatine,
Bawls. Coffee makes me hyperactive, gives me chest pains, and an upset
stomach. Or maybe that was my last job.

I am not a coffee drinker. Let me rephrase that: I am a coffee
drinker. Turns out.

I blame the pizza place; and also Sarah, who introduced me to the
gateway drink, the latte, last November. Fridays and Saturdays I'm
generally up and out the door by 9:15 and pretty much immediately
working once I step outside—shopping, running errands, writing mental
prep lists—and actually at Depokos by 10. If it's a slow day I have a
couple hours in the afternoon to relax between lunch and dinner (the
gap in which I'm writing now).

If I wasn't diligent in getting to bed on time on Friday night,
Saturdays especially can be long. In order to be on the ball as best I
can—to greet customers with verve and frothy banter—sometimes a little
doping is useful. There is a café conveniently located two doors down
from the pizzeria. I have graduated from the latte to the house brew.
It's cheaper and seemingly just as potent. By keeping my coffee
consumption limited to one to two days a week, I'm able to milk that
caffeine for maximum effect.

It doesn't necessarily help the feeling at the end of a long day—it
can actually make it worse, like some kind of behemoth sugar-crash
that leaves my brain a vacuum, devoid of any chemical activity—when if
it hasn't been busy can just feel draining, with the lower half of my
body—my hips and hamstrings and knees, the balls of my feet, my
calves—worn and sore from standing for 10-to-12 hours. When it is busy
that same fatigue can be eminently satisfying, knowing that I have put
all my energy into creating something that I take pride in and that
customers have (hopefully) enjoyed.

And so I drink coffee to help me make it there. It's acrid and
astringent, but also earthy and invigorating.


Anonymous said...

Writing is a good thing. Good for the mind. Good for the soul. Putting ones personal underlying assumptions out on paper makes them vulnerable to inspection and maybe even adjustment.

211 Vierling

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