We ran out of coffee.
How could we have let this happen? We knew we were coming to the end. Written in bold black lettering on the dry-erase board mounted on the refrigerator read, quite plainly, “Coffee.” Perhaps it should have read, “COFFEE, you fools!” We might not have been in this mess if it had.
The initial shock was manageable. I keep a stash of Starbucks Via instant coffee in the cupboard for the occasional mornings when I’m up early with the kids and my husband, the resident coffee maker, sleeps in. I bought the pack of 20 at the beginning of the year, and there was one cylindrical packet left. Safe!
When my husband woke, we immediately left the house for brunch, where we were able to indulge in about 49 cups of coffee. Double safe!
The plan was to go food shopping later in the day and never again speak of this horrendous morning that lacked the welcome buzz of an overworked coffee grinder. I don’t know what happened. Somewhere we went wrong. The day got away from us, and come the next morning, no coffee!
It would be OK, my husband insisted. He would drop the kids off at school, swing by a cafe, buy us both a drip coffee and buy a bag of coffee beans. We would survive. As long as we held on to the faith of a caffeinated tomorrow, we could get through today. My husband was good on his word. Almost. He came home with two large drip coffees. He did not come home with the bag of beans. The problem with getting coffee to go is that you haven’t had your morning coffee to help you be alert and functioning enough to remember such things as, oh, say, the coffee.
I know what you may be thinking: “Oh, no, the poor babies don’t have coffee in the morning. Wah-wah.” But what you should be thinking is: “Oh, no! The poor babies! Don’t have coffee in the morning?! Wa-a-a-h!” (And I won’t be upset if you want to throw in an “Oh, the humanity!”) This is the lapse in judgment that spawned a thousand more lapses in judgment. It was a successive error, a decaffeinated domino effect. Without coffee, we couldn’t remember the coffee! It was a vicious circle. Days passed without our being able to find the wherewithal to buy the dang beans! Coffee shops were driven past without a second thought. Instacart’s and Amazon’s shopping carts were left chock-full but unpurchased. Our minds were melting under the uncaffeinated stress.
I regaled this trauma to a friend of mine, and she said, “Wow. Seems like you’re super addicted. Have you considered kombucha or a nice lemon and cardamom cleanse?” She’s from LA, so you’ll have to forgive her. And no. No, I hadn’t. I assessed her yoga pants and said, “C’mon, no pumpkin spice latte for you? Ever?” She replied, “Who needs all that sugar when you can have juiced zukes? That’s short for zucchini.”
Excuse me while I gag. Zukes and pumpkin are not the same. And a smoothie and coffee aren’t, either.
At the end of the day, we all pick our poison. I have seen both men and women go completely feral at the kombucha stand at my local farmers market when they run out of the yogi’s favorite flavor. It’s all an addiction.
For me, coffee is a mental addiction. When I was growing up, my dad would get a migraine if he didn’t have at least five cups. I don’t get such physical symptoms. It’s the mere presence of the coffee, the routine accompanied by the hot mug in my hands, that gets me going.
I like standing on my deck, looking out at the lake and woods we live on, breathing in the morning after my husband leaves to take the kids to school. I require a cup by my side when I sit down to write, or nothing comes out. The joe brings the flow. Not that I need to drink it for the effects. Often, the cup goes cold, and then I have to reheat it three times before finishing a pouring. Maybe it’s the smell that I associate with a get-up-and-go, but without my cup of joe, it’s a get-up-and-no-go.
After days of struggling, my husband was buying his daily cup, and the barista asked whether he wanted to buy a bag of beans, too.
We have been saved.
Katiedid Langrock is author of the book “Stop Farting in the Pyramids.” Like Katiedid Langrock on Facebook, at http://www.facebook.com/katiedidhumor.