Her tan, even, smooth skin begged to be touched. Her deep, dark soulful eyes drew you in to their very depths. Her pouty lips were tinted in just the right shade of pink: dark enough to make a statement yet light enough to lend an air of innocence to her. Her silky, shiny dark hair cascaded in a seductive spray over her toned, golden shoulders. It was her breasts, however, that were most the impressive. As she leaned out the window, they attempted to spill out of her black strapless dress. I was mesmerized by her. She was stunning.
I was jolted back to my chubby, sagging, freckled reality by the sound of her seductive and beckoning voice. “What can I get for you today?”
With much shame and embarrassment, I expertly said to the woman, “Um….I’d like a grande mocha, sugar free syrup, non fat, no whip, please. Oh, and I’d like one of those sleeve thingies”
From the back seat of the car, I heard the teenager mutter with disgust. “Look where this coffee thing has taken you Mom! You’ve just driven your children to the wrong side of town where you and a bunch of dirty old men are staring at a practically naked woman…. all because of coffee!”
My downward spiral to the dark side began after my mother died, as do most downward journeys. I wasn’t sleeping well. I was planning my own mother’s funeral. I was driving very long distances on the crowded freeway. I was stressed, stuck in rush hour traffic and falling asleep at the wheel. It was then that peer pressure and advertising and desperation forced me to do the unthinkable. As I pulled off the freeway it took me about 3.2 seconds to find a supplier. I walked into the coffee shop intending to order a medium coffee. MY FIRST ONE EVER. I became a bit confused when nowhere on the menu did I see the word “medium”. For that matter, nowhere on the menu did I see the word, “coffee”. My fumbling, erroneous, question filled order caused much amusement among the baristas. They too, however, had many confusing questions of their own concerning things that were new to me like foam and whip and non versus 2%. I just wanted a cup of coffee to keep me awake. I had no idea I needed to bring a resume and instruction manual and an Italian translator.
Back in the car, I held the hot cup in my hand thinking that somebody should really make something to fit around the cup so it isn’t so hot in my hand. I tried to decipher the hieroglyphics written in Sharpie on the side of my cup as I approached the onramp to the freeway. It only took me about ½ a mile to come to the conclusion that it is really quite dangerous to attempt to drink and drive at the same time. After about 15 miles I came to realize that it is really quite dangerous to attempt to drink and drive when your hands and brain and eyeballs are so jittery you can barely control the steering wheel and the stereo and the almost empty coffee cup in your hand. It was then that I vowed, at that very moment, that this coffee thing must stop.
The very next morning I felt an overpowering urge to order my second cup of coffee, ever. This time I was a bit more confident placing my order and no one laughed at me. I even announced to the cute girl taking my order that “this was only my second cup!”
“Today?” she inattentively mumbled.
“No,” I replied. “EVER!!”
She dropped the cup in her hand to the floor. She gripped the counter top with both hands, took a deep breath and whispered quietly to herself, “The last coffee virgin on earth……and she’s mine!”
She then turned to face me with a huge, orgasmic grin on her face and a slightly evil look in her eye and said forcefully, “I HAVE SO MUCH TO TEACH YOU!!”
I told her about getting the jitters the day before. She recommended that a coffee virgin, like me, might want to ease into the exhilarating caffeine experience. She offered to customize my drink with fewer “pumps” and “shots”.
I was shocked when I unexpectedly shouted out a little too loudly, with much extreme feeling, “No! Don’t take away my pumps or my shots…..I…I…I kind of liked the jitters.” I suddenly knew that I might have a problem.
It was then that I vowed, at that very moment, that this coffee thing must stop. Well…..as soon as I finished that amazing mocha that the excited, cute girl made, the best I’d ever had actually, then, it would stop. I swear.
I snuck a third mocha 3 days later. The husband never knew. I felt weak. I was embarrassed. It was then that I vowed, at that very moment, that this coffee thing must stop.
2 weeks after that I ventured into new territory and ordered a gingerbread latte. I drank it in secret. No one knew but me. I was too ashamed. I didn’t like the fact that I was well on my way to becoming one of those inveterate mommies, waiting in the Starbucks line, after dropping their kids off at school. I was unhappy that I had given in to the societal caffeine driven peer pressure. It was then that I vowed, at that very moment, that this coffee thing must stop. And it did.
Until that foggy and chilly Saturday morning, a few weeks later, when I found myself on the wrong side of the valley with half an hour to spare. The teenager couldn’t believe I was considering getting some coffee. She saw it as a sign of weakness, as an addiction and representative of all that I had taught her to “JUST SAY NO” to. She had already convinced me not to get a coffee outside of the Home Depot. She helped me say “NO” to the espresso stand inside of the grocery store. She convinced me that, “it wasn’t worth it” at that stand beside that taco place we had lunch at. But driving to the soccer field, with plenty of extra time, I saw the espresso stand on the side of the road, calling out to me, and I just had to pull in. I had no idea, though, that I’d be getting so much more than just a cup of coffee.
As we left the provocative and very busy espresso stand that day and said goodbye to the beautiful, half naked woman who made me my mocha, the teenager in the back seat was seen huddled, pretending to be asleep and rolling her eyeballs in complete disgust. The impressionable, young boy, also in the back seat of the car, had an awkward smile plastered on his face and was, apparently, intrigued by the whole experience. He piped up, “Hey, can we come back on Thursday, Mom? It’s Naughty Schoolgirl Day! Or how about Wednesday? It’s Military Appreciation Bikini Day! I bet Dad would really like that!”
And after I finished that fabulous mocha, I vowed, at that very moment, that this coffee thing must stop. This coffee thing had produced nothing but jitters, extra weight and the exposure of my children to some darn near pornographic moments.
And it has stopped...I swear.
Check This Out!
If you have half a brain and your last book wasn’t a supermarket paperback romance, then this next book is for you. A Sense of the World: How a Blind Man Became the History's Greatest Traveler by Jason Roberts. Fascinating, full of lots of history and politics and interesting social observations all intertwined in this amazing man's life story. Buy it if you have to. It's in paperback and worth the price.