My dad is a coffee drinker, and my mum and the rest of my family tea. Like their lives depend on it. The state my mum is in the mornings is embarrassing and frankly, her self-admiitted inability to function in the early hours can come across very rude. It’s something that we bright sparky young things don’t often understand.
Tea and coffee has in the home been offered to me on many an occasion. I seem to recall one time where tea had be put onto my lips, and I decided it was the most disgusting thing ever and passed it to my younger brother, surely just a toddler at this point, who lapped it up and has never looked back since.
It’s so funny how tea and coffee are such social institutions. It is an expectation that one of the two would be available when people visit the house – and always weird whenever I was elsewhere that I would gladly and enthusiastically take water. I couldn’t help but think how sad our nation was in this, and that it made a slight social outsider. Thankfully, more focus has been given to drinks such as hot chocolates and smoothies that are not too odd to have in coffee shops and the like that will provide a suitable substitute.
The first time I remember drinking coffee actually has a great story to it. It was my final year as President of Durham University Eurovision Society, when I was doing my PGCE. We had organized a social for the Wednesday night – in part the reasoning being I had three lessons on the Thursday, but the earliest of them started at 11:45. Our social theme, was BLUE, after the boy band were announced as the UK act, and the rest of the EuroPad joined me not in ‘blueing-up’ as all expected – but actually to go as the boy band themselves. Social Secretary Bryn made it one of the best socials I’ve ever been on – I look back fondly on the Dunkin’ with Duncan James cracker challenge and the Lyin’ with Lee Ryan true of false round, but the classic was the Antony Costa Coffee Downoff.
The aim was to drink a simple yet boiling hot black coffee as fast as possible. It was hilarious, especially for me and Bryn who are awful speed drinkers and have never had coffee before ever, but I managed to get it all down me (I actually think Bryn gave up). We couldn’t understand either of us how people would want to drink this stuff.
And that was it for coffee until moving here to Sweden. I’ve had coffee offered to me on many an occasion, for example on planes, after meals and the like. I know coffee is a bigger part of Swedish culture, and I figured it would be rude not to.
And it’s now quite ok.
Coffee was free at the Swedish OGAE Annual Meeting, and rather than get very drunk on Swedish conference drink prices, the caffeine fix did me no harm, especially with the help of some sugar. It works – and I get adjusted to the taste and smell and of course, with the addictive nature of the drug insisting my body to like it.
So I found myself working late yesterday. I was sorting out marking re-tests, students needing to have academic concerns and phone calls to said parents and so on. And I impulsively grabbed a cup of coffee. So odd.
I think I can enjoy it, but I don’t want to be a person who needs it each and every day. Recreationally it is great – but I hope it remains the exception to the norm. I don’t need it to be the happy, smily person each Monday morning. Do I? Not yet I hope!