Friday, July 26, 2013

The ROK Espresso Maker and the Necessity of Tea

OCCASIONALLY, I WISH I still could drink coffee. And yes, there's a story here.

{ ROK espresso maker }

Beautiful, is it not? The Italians invented the Renaissance, much of Western civilization, and the espresso machine., for which I thank them. If I were still drinking coffee regularly, I would demand all my friends pony up and buy me one of these. For my birthday. Or for Christmas. Bastille Day. Tooth Fairy Appreciation Day?

The voodoo priest and all his powders were as nothing compared to espresso, cappuccino, and mocha, which are stronger than all the religions of the world combined, and perhaps stronger than the human soul itself.
~Mark Helprin, Memoir from Antproof Case, 1995

Once upon a time, I worked in downtown Chicago. Like all the other soulless, corporate drones, I queued and spent my $3.87 for a café au lait, or a largissimo thunderccino, or whatev. And, of course, another $2.12 for a pastry that I downed before going to work. Lather, rinse, repeat. 

{ I'll have a café au nausaeum, please.
Yes, make room. }

But one fateful day, I actually paid attention through the fog of coffee-induced pseudo-awareness, and I noticed how much I was spending on a cup o' Joe and a metaphoric donut. I was shocked. So I brought my little espresso maker to work.

Well, as it turns out, I have a bit of an oral fixation. Always putting things in my mouth, biting my pens, and . . . [appropriate music for foreshadowing] drinking coffee.

Ah, yes, the young adult who has no sense of his own limitations, being put in charge of his very own espresso machine in his office in downtown Chicago. It's cool to drink coffee! It's very adult! And furthermore, it tastes good! Even though I always feel cold in my extremities as a side-effect of excessive caffeine ingestion, and I'm getting increasingly jumpy!

At some point, I realized I was driving into the existential breakdown lane, turning an already well-developed hyperactive and nervous personality into, well, a cause for alarm. Lack of sleep, constant burning in my stomach, and the ever-present refrain, "WhatamIdoingwithmylife?WhatamIdoingwithmylife?WhatamIdoingwithmylife?WhatamIdoingwithmylife?"

{ The Stacks }
Eventually, I was forced to switch from drinking my beloved 10 to 15 espresso drinks a day (which now had an almost immediate effect of resetting my neuron paths to PANIC! mode), to something different. Well, you guessed it. I started drinking tea, and thus my obsessive-compulsive behaviors could be curved toward drinking something a little less dangerous to my health. Plus, all those relaxants in tea help to modify the effects of caffeine on my system, and a measure of peace is found. Or, at least, a measure of SLIGHTLY LESS CRAZY.

I'll still sneak a coffee every now and then, and when I do, I typically go into a pretty spectacular panic-and-depression spiral that is a joy and a wonder to behold. Unless you're married to me, in which case you reach for my meds and make me take them.

I'll keep drinking and writing about tea. But I still think I'll want that ROK espresso maker, just in case.