Coffee. What’s the point of it?
After the Defenestration of Prague and the Boston Tea Party, you’d think people would have learned by now what to throw out the window. (Cough, coffee!)
Okay I don’t mean that. I don’t dislike coffee to the point of chucking it through a window pane or off the back of a speedboat–its scent is very comforting, and I do find it useful for days when I have to take an exam to keep me alert. But I simply wonder at the level of dependence and hype that coffee gets. Except for its smoky and comforting scent, coffee’s just a rather bitter and unappetizing drink to get used to, right? So how the hell did people get so attached to it in the first place?
At school, I’d see classmates waltzing into class, suavely sporting a Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts coffee in hand each day, each week, all semester. I even once spied this of no less than 21 people out of 50 in my college Statistics class, give or take. And this doesn’t exempt office workers, lab researchers, professors–all of them buy coffee without exception! Meanwhile, the price of a Starbucks coffee is like what, 4 dollars, and to buy it all year around?! Thinking about all that money piling up in the cash register, whoa.
So WHAT in the world would motivate people to waste their money so easily on unnecessary stuff like coffee?
And after much thought, I came to the conclusion that people drink coffee out of NECESSITY, rather more than guilty pleasure. Let me explain.
As young children, we grow up seeing our parents and older siblins drinking coffee, and the scent of the smoky brew certainly appeals to our senses. It smells delicious, so it must taste delicious, right? But a sip of this drink proves us wrong, and we, at our young ages, are unable to comprehend why exactly adults like it so much.
However, the image of these adults in the early mornings, dressed to the tee in the their suits and formal attire and getting ready for a day’s work in the adult’s world, as they peruse through that complicated looking paper called a “newspaper,” all the while sipping a steaming cup of coffee….It certainly must’ve an impressive sight for a young child to behold. And that child must have been envious and awestruck by the fun things that adults get to go out and do, all on their own, by their own free wills–how exciting!
Oh the naive misconceptions children have. But to be fair, there is more of the unknown to a child than the known, and they, in their carefree boredom, often aggrandizes the wonders and intrigues of an adult’s rather dreary reality. So therefore, already at a young age came the association of coffee with adulthood—the adulthood that’s associated with power, independence, self-direction, and control.
And when we finally fast-forward a few years later, we arrive at that age when we can take our medicine without spitting it out in righteous fury. Therefore, we can now also accustom ourselves to coffee as well!
Again, children are most importantly conscious of the fact that they’re taking their first steps into adulthood. They think, “Now we know as much as adults. And to drink coffee is to prove that we have jobs and duties, and we have important things to do that those ‘little kids’ won’t understand.” We are so stoked for the unknown possibilities of adulthood, and coffee is really just the very first step into this realm. Therefore, coffee becomes more than just a drink, and even more than just a bodily necessity–we require coffee as the “stamp of approval” validating OUR own adulthood, power, and independence (not to mention, suave coolness).
But skip another few years, and we finally come to the dark side of the coffee hype–not only do we love it, we’re unable to function without it. We’re grumpy in the mornings because we “haven’t had coffee yet.” We skip breakfast, the most important meal of the day, to opt out for coffee. We are distracted, zoned out, or even frantic if we go a day without coffee, and that’s exactly what I hate about all this coffee hype.
Because let me ask you this…What exactly is the point of learning to love coffee? What do we gain from it that we would put in so much effort to become addicted to something that’s not really so appealing, and especially not so great for our health? Same for alcohol–why are we so eager to learn to drink? Despite being fully aware of negative health effects and general dangers, we still cannot wait to finally arrive at that age when we will finally be allowed to get smashed to our hearts’ content.
Personally, I believe that this has to do with our need to prove ourselves as adults, and prove that we finally have the power to control and steer our own lives. Coffee’s one key symbol of adulthood that’s associated with jobs, responsibility, and intellectual power, and alcohol is the other half of adulthood that manifests in our choice of freedom, fun, and sexual power. Therefore, these two drinks entail adulthood.
Now the problem is when people begin to actively search for and rely upon these symbols to transition into their adulthood. They falsely come to believe that coffee and alcohol are what validate an adult’s maturity, sex, wit, responsibility, and intelligence. And that as long as they follow these hallmarks, they are “adults.” However, this is an alarming misconception! Adulthood isn’t proven by your ability to drink alcohol or coffee. Yes, coffee can enhance people’s focus and drive in a short period of time, but in the long run, it will NOT validate their innate sense of responsibility and work ethic. Similarly, alcohol will help you relax and elevate your senses so that you can have more fun at that party tonight, but you shouldn’t really need it to define your sense of wit, humor, and fun. These symbols aren’t necessary to be an adult.
People just don’t seem to see this distinction in my opinion. I personally don’t have an issue with coffee or alcohol, but when it gets to the point that people come to depend so strongly on them to become motivated for work, get themselves to “function,” and get hyped to do something–I believe that’s the point of a mild addiction.
For example, it’s strange that people say “I can’t function without coffee!” in such a proud and bombastic way, as though their act of drinking coffee itself has already demonstrated their work ethic or maturity. But what’s the point of coffee when you yourself, without coffee, actually have a really crappy drive and work ethic? Why would you want to rely on something external, beyond yourself, without which you can’t live through the day?
Bottom line, I believe a moderate reliance on coffee can lead to success, while an over-reliance on it can lead to failure in the long run. At least, that’s my theory–not that I’m a psychologist or anything:P