Truly Powerful People (462)

462.
Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

If you’ve ever spent any time with me you know that I am more often than not clutching a cup of coffee. I say clutch because coffee is more than a nice hot drink to me. A significant portion of my identity is invested in it. The remaining portion of my identity is invested in my ratty old studio clogs. I am lost without them. No coffee, no clogs, no idea who I am.

The first passage ritual that I was consciously aware of was steeped in coffee. At 12 years old I was invited to have coffee with my father and some older relatives. I was finally included in the circle of adults and coffee was the portal. I held my cup like an old pro. Coffee and I loved each other from the first sip. I was already a worshipper from afar: the smell was close to the top of my list of smells, second only to my cedar closet (I could sit in that closet for hours luxuriating in the smell and reading by flashlight in the dark).

In my first run at graduate school I nearly overdosed. I sat at my drafting table for hours with a pot going all the time. One week I counted the cups and was shocked to discover that 16 cups was my minimum daily intake. That year a doctor told me I was killing myself so I backed off by half. I had to retrain my heart to do beat without assistance and was delighted to find my worldview improving. Stress and caffeine are a formidable tag team. I drew slower which was disconcerting; my mythology of fast-means-good crumbled.

The second passage ritual came many years later while visiting my grandfather in Iowa. He took me to his afternoon coffee with the boys. The boys were all north of 70 years old and I loved their banter, their easy laughter, their teasing and prompting for me to go “ask out the serving girl.” “Come on,” they winked, “you only live once.” She was an Iowa farm girl that could snap me like a twig. I reasoned with the boys that, with only one life to live, it would be foolish to pursue a woman that might inadvertently kill me. They laughed and reasoned that a little danger might be good for me. I drank my coffee and avoided eye contact with all forms of danger.

Now I travel with my own coffee. When I visit my father I tell him his coffee tastes like old sock water, “It’s old guy coffee,” I charge. He tells me that I’m ruined, that I have no taste buds and even less taste. I make a pot of my special brew. and he wrinkles his nose and cries, “What is this stuff?” It is one of my favorite rituals, the passage happening again and again and again.

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