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Thursday, January 08, 2004

The Best Things in Life Are Free (if you steal them)

This cup of coffee I am drinking is pretty damn good but it wasn’t free ($1.64 including tax). The first sip tastes a little bitter and it is too hot. Perhaps what I love about that first cup of coffee in the morning is primarily based on expectation. Perhaps I don’t really enjoy it as much as I think I do.

But then I take the second sip and it isn’t as bitter or as hot. My reading vision begins to sharpen without the reading glasses I have left at home. By the third sip I’m completely in love again. As it cools I can take bigger and bigger sips; each one more satisfying than the last. This love will last for about 10-12 ounces until the coffee starts to get luke warm and enough caffeine has reached my system to properly jolt it into action for whatever the day may require.

The effect of this drug is much more subtle than the high I receive from booze or from smoking a cigar. Coffee isn’t a euphoria-creating drug like the other two I mentioned. Coffee is about instilling awareness in its early-morning users. I haven’t really become fully awaken from the past night’s sleep until I am half-way through this morning coffee ritual.

I sometimes drink coffee at other times of the day but the effect on me is nowhere near as pronounced as the first cup in the morning. I don’t really need coffee later in the day; I drink it for recreational and not medicinal purposes. This is when I will order something wimpy like a cappuccino. I suspect that people who drink prodigious amounts of coffee throughout the day are like people who drink too much alcohol on a regular basis: They don’t really enjoy it so much as need it.

One of the joys of moderation is that you truly enjoy your vices instead of being ruled by them. Do I always practice what I preach? Are you fucking kidding? Do I look Mormon? Even though cigars are horribly taxed here in Washington I won’t buy them on-line. If I have a whole box of La Gloria Cubana* cigars lying around I simply cannot show a shred of self-control and I will practically chain-smoke them.

Only once, very briefly, did I consider dropping my coffee habit. Why would I want to exclude something from my life that gives me so much pleasure, costs little, and makes me smarter? I couldn’t answer that either so here I am, coming down to the last bit of coffee in my cup, ready to walk out and face the world.

*In my opinion the world’s best cigars. I prefer them to Cuban cigars. I may be prejudiced because I used to love going to the factory on Calle Ocho in Miami. You could buy these wonderful cigars direct and watch them being hand-rolled. The only ones I can get here are made in the Dominican Republic. They are still the best nicotine delivery system yet concocted. The La Gloria Cubana Corona Gorda’s provide about one hour of pure bliss.

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