I began drinking coffee when I was nine, a move to dramatically raise my game when it came to the quest to disavow childhood in favor of assuming my rightful place among the adults. My parents used an electric percolator, a green-handled number with a glass carafe into which the percolating stem and top-mounted vat of coffee was placed. My mother would assemble and prepare it each night, and then turn it on first thing the next morning, as time-activated pots were yet in the future. After what now seems like an ungodly amount of time, a full pot would be brewed for the two people who drank from it--Mom and Dad. Always, there would be at least an inch worth of the mysterious brown liquid in the pot which would be poured down the sink, or (heavens) consumed by my father some ten hours later after dinner.
One day, I asked my mother if I might have that last bit in the pot, and for whatever reason, she agreed. In retrospect, feeding caffeine to a slightly hyper little punk may not have been her wisest decision, but who are we to judge lo these many years later. I was hooked. Soon, I was granted privileges to drink from the pot BEFORE it had sat and burned itself down to the dregs upon which I started out, and my love of coffee continued.
In high school, Mr. Kunz was my senior history teacher. Smilin' Jack. He had a little storeroom in the back of his classroom where he kept a Mr. Coffee Machine (it now being eight years later) to feed his own habit. One day early in the year, I walked into the storeroom as my fellow classmates were filing in, and I grabbed an extra cup he had there and poured myself a stiff brew. Then I sat down at my desk. Remember people, this is 1982...long before it became de rigueur to enter every meeting or class with a venti frappacino in one's hand. Smilin' Jack came marching over (he had an identifiable stride) and upbraided me for taking the coffee. I asked if he wanted me to return it. He said no. And then I basically did the same thing most days for the rest of the year.
It is now 2016, and I am not only addicted to coffee, I enjoy it immensely. To that end, I--like many of you--have owned a series of Keurig coffee machines into which you place an individual little pod of coffee and seconds later, you are gifted with a perfectly brewed cup of (in my house) Tiger People, dark coffee. The Kitten has always asked me to hold onto the used pods so that she can add the grounds to her compost, but she very seldom does so and they begin to pile up. And so I throw them out. Over the years I must have consumed and thrown away thousands of these pods. Until today.
You see, I'm not the world's greatest environmentalist, but I really have begun to worry about the amount of plastic that I am consuming just to have a cup of joe. And so, I have--for the moment at least--put aside the accumulation of little white pods in our nation's landfills and turned to instant coffee. That's right. Instant coffee. Brother Tom will tell you of my great love of instant coffee, something he observed during our trip to South Africa a few years ago. When we went for breakfast the first morning, I was positively beside myself with joy at the prospect of a cup of Nescafe Gold instant, and I raved about it for the remainder of the trip. Frequent readers of the this blog may even recall other posts extolling the virtues of a good instant.
What put me over the edge on this momentous decision was a little excursion this weekend. The Kitten's boarding school chum's mother passed away recently, and so we drove out to the wilds of Virginia on Saturday for her memorial service. We decided to make a night of it and chose to bed down in Old Town Alexandria. Before leaving town on Sunday morning, we made our way up and down King Street and poked our snoots into a few stores, including a kitchen store. There, we espied a little electric tea kettle like the one to the right. When I awoke this morning, there one was, sitting next to my Keurig machine, shaming me. Had I any instant coffee on hand, I would have made a cup, but this lack was addressed later in the day. Three cups into things, I am happy with my decision, though I am not sure if it will be permanent. We'll see.