Reflections on art, fitness, family, politics and literature that hit me like bricks as I chauffeur my children from place to place...
A pink taxi
August 3, 2010
The Coffee I Drink
I resisted coffee till the early age of seventeen. For two years, while my friends drank coffee and smoked in boarding school, I refused to even take a sip.
The year of my Baccalaureate exam meant many early mornings revising, with lots of coffee from the machine dispensers. Those first coffees would send my heart racing. But I wasn't hooked yet.
In the US, in the early 1990s, the only option was American percolated coffee, in a mug. I ignored it. I didn't need any caffeine then. I was happy with orange juice and perhaps a random diet coke in the afternoon to perk me up.
Then came the era of Coffee Connection in Boston. I socialized in cafes in lieu of bars and began appreciating caffeine instead of alcohol that I had never touched. I admit that the biscottis were the best thing at Coffee Connection. A friend gifted me a Krups coffee maker and I soon became "the Cappuccino Queen". Gladly I became an amateur barrista.
In the late 1990s, a green mermaid and her coffee company invaded the United States. Starbucks crept on every sidewalk, in every neighborhood. It became my favorite hangout. I studied at Starbucks more than at any given library (library hopping was my passion in Boston, from Boston University to Harvard Business School to MIT library). I think my husband and I fell in love over coffee cups. He is a strong adept of cafe culture.
However, I did realize that Starbucks was just average coffee. I lived in Switzerland and traveled in Italy. I drank high quality Italian coffee. We had our favorite coffee spots. We never bought another coffee machine for home, preferring sidewalk cafes for people mingling.
When I moved to Dubai, I was relieved to find the predictable Starbucks. I know most locations. The barristas know me. They prepare my skinny cappuccino when they see me stand in line. My husband's preferred outlet is Caribou coffee (also good standards) and we meet our friends and read our papers and get our regular dosage of caffeine before our workouts. Indeed, whether it's a morning or evening class, the coffee is a must for me before a pilates class, lest I doze off, incapable of focusing. I need the buzz!
During a coffee drinking, I slowly feel the effect of the caffeine. It certainly is a mood enhancer. My parents are convinced that many of the blog entries are written "under the influence". I should add that many of the Le Monde articles are read under the influence as well, propelling me to think longer about a controversial subject or facilitating a sudden rise in inspiration.
I don't drink French coffee. I boycott it. It's black and "affreux" (dreadful) and has an after taste of Gauloises cigarettes. I have to make do with Nescafe instant coffee, or no coffee at all (I would rather drink tea). However, if I happen to be in the South of France, on the border of Italy, I catch a ride with my family who go leather and food shopping and I overdose on coffee. Two to three cappuccinos in one morning.
The pink taxi runs from 7 am to 7pm. It picks and drops off my 3 kids at school, ballet,judo, aikido, violin, climbing, riding, squash, basketball, skiing, skating, swim team, friends, grandparents and teachers. The car, not pink, but a black SUV, drives to Carrefour and Coop. To Club stretch for pilates and Aviation club for weekly workouts. It is driven by a woman who navigates on the radio, gets DJed by her 4 year old or sometimes quietly reflects. The thoughts are about politics, family, humor, literature, art or fitness. Sometimes they are excruciatingly longwinded, other times they are gossipy and hot.
I hope you will all enjoy!