As you all know, I have just returned from the UK where I saw family and friends. You also know that I arrived back in Dubai at 3 am, got home to my apartment just before 4 am, and was in work for 7 am. I did get a couple hours sleep on the plane (which is rare as I normally don’t get any), and did lie down for an hour or so before going to work (although I was used as a climbing apparatus by my cats so I didn’t really get any sleep), so yesterday was a struggle to keep my eyes open.
Perhaps the struggle would have been easier if I drank coffee. But I don’t. I’ve had one cup in the last 20 odd years, and that cup was because I felt it wrong to refuse it when it was made for me. One of my friends, Kim, asked why I don’t drink coffee. I gave her a short answer and said I would blog about it. So Kim, and all you other people shaking your head at me right now for not liking coffee, here is the story…
… Imagine if you will, a man (I use this term very tongue-in-cheekily) returning home to visit his parents. With him is his best friend. They both live in Calgary, some 300 kilometers away from Edmonton where this ribald tale takes place. Another good friend has joined them for the weekend, and as it happens, the weekend of his 18th birthday – the legal drinking age for residents of Alberta!
A night of drinking follows. The friend (who shall remain nameless to save his embarrassment) is 3 years younger than we are. He’s had a few drinks before, of course, but nothing like he plans on doing later. We give him some sage advice – do not under any circumstances, mix your alcohol. If you start with beer, just drink beer. Don’t try and be a hero and drink as many types of beers, liqueurs, spirits, or anything else that is offered to you.
We join some other friends and head out. Long story short – he mixes too many different types of alcohol, decides he really loves shooters, and we have to carry him back to my parents’ house where the three of us crash in the basement. During the evening, we probably could have stopped him, but we felt this is a lesson he needs to learn. Most of us learn it the hard way.
During the night, some of the most haunting and other-worldly sounds escape his body. Also escaping that night, was an unprecedented amount of vomit. Three times during the night, as he lay there semi-conscious, we had to roll him over and remove vomit from his airways. The old pluck and chuck technique taught in basic first aid class came in handy. Needless to say, my other friend and I got no sleep at all. And we were due to drive back to Calgary later that morning.
When my mum woke up and came to check on us downstairs, we filled her in on the situation. By this time, our worse for wear friend had drifted off to possibly the deepest sleep of his life. He hadn’t vomited for a couple of hours, his breathing was good, and he even had this smug look on his face. Mum agreed to watch him and my other friend and I headed out to get breakfast. We had been drinking as well, but weren’t too bad. Slow and deliberate, dry-mouthed and bloated, but we could function. Having not slept probably kept away the hangover that usually follows after I drink beer for any length of time.
The local Denny’s was too far away so we settled on the restaurant at a hotel down the road. I order the big breakfast – 2 eggs, bacon, sausages, 2 pancakes, hash browns and toast. And coffee. I need coffee at this moment more than I needed a date (and I really needed a date). We’re in view of the kitchen and I can see them putting the bacon and sausages into the microwave. This should have tipped me off.
The waitress, probably older than the province we’re having breakfast in, totters over with the coffee pot. She pours the liquid into our cups and walks off. I normally take milk and sugar at this time, but I just need the caffeinated goodness and nothing else. Sadly for me, I take a bigger sip than normal. When the foul contents hit my throat, I stifle the urge to spit it all out, probably only because my friend is in the line of fire.
The coffee tastes thick, almost chunky somehow, and the bitterness usually welcomed has been bitch-slapped aside by the lingering decay of burning. I add milk and sugar, hoping to put lipstick on a pig, as some might say, but this does not work either. I need the caffeine though. I try and order a Coke or Pepsi, but all they have is diet, and this won’t suffice. I gargle back the cup, accompany it with the worst breakfast I have ever had in a restaurant, and stop off at the nearest 7-11 to buy a can of Jolt Cola (I’m showing my age here) and then the largest slurpee I can find.
For the next week, all I can taste is that coffee. I even had a date the next week, and when we kissed, all I could taste was that stupid disgusting coffee on her lips. There was no second date because of it (and I couldn’t afford to be picky). I vowed to avoid coffee forever, and barring that one cup when at a friend’s house (and his English wife said “would you like a cuppa?” – A cuppa refers to tea, damn it!!) I couldn’t refuse. I left half of it though.
So coffee and I don’t get on well after a night out. Alcohol and me are still on speaking terms however. And bacon. Man, do I love bacon.