I Just Drank Coffee For The First Time

I am 23. I have pulled all-nighters, worked ridiculous shifts and enjoyed pie. All in all, I’ve spent 23 years living a very normal life. Except, I did so without the company of coffee.

On March 29, 2012, for no profound or noteworthy reason, I tried it. My first cup was from Starbucks. Now, this was not my first time at Starbucks. Usually, when accompanying a friend at one of their 300 locations above 14th Street, I would ask the barista what they had that most resembled a milkshake. I’d ordered that. But never had I ever had a hot cup of coffee.

When I tweeted the occasion, a friend, a coffee connoisseur, tweeted back, “??duuuuude you don’t go to starbucks for your first cup of coffee!! that’s not coffee!!”??

I was born near Seattle, Washington. For pretty much my entire life, I have associated Starbucks with. . . coffee. I ordered a regular coffee. I added sugar and milk. It tasted like savory Earth.

Usually, in these moments, I try to put the experience into some sort of context I can remember it by. But my attention was diverted elsewhere. The hour in which I first had coffee was coincidentally the same hour when an editor from Thought Catalog approved of my first article suggestion. How exciting! The editor made some comments for revision. How very exciting! This alone would have gotten me rather hyped up. Except in this moment, I was legitimately hyped up. My thumbs ferociously pounded the changes onto the Notes section of my iPod Touch as if I was training for Thumb Wars: Normandy Edition. ?

So the coffee thing got a little overshadowed.

_____

I have never had a reason to buy a Mac computer. Given the limited reasons I use my computer (Twitter-Email-Google Documents-Repeat), I couldn’t justify the difference in price from my Toshiba.

But now, I am a coffee drinker. Now I can. I can join the cool kids at trendy coffeehouses. I can start listening to Elliott Smith and Ingrid Michaelson. Perhaps date a graphic designer. The possibilities excite me. ?

_____

The first time you do anything can be very tricky. Whether trying sex, eating sushi, or watching Garden State, the hype almost always exceeds the initial experience. There’s a moment, after you’ve rolled back onto your back that you simply sigh and think, “Well, then. . .” The doors of adulthood, which you had expected to be thrown open aided by throngs of angelic choirs, at best only leads to watching another rerun of That 70’s Show. Hair doesn’t sprout from your chest. Nicolas Sparks novels don’t become easier to defend. Nothing really changes. ?

There aren’t many profound “firsts” that involve beverages although my first Guinness pretty much validated nearly everything my parents told me about drinking. Trying coffee was no different. There was nothing memorable about that day. I had Thai for lunch. Ran into a fellow DJ at my college radio station in a Trader Joe’s.

When I tried coffee, I was with a friend. While she was debating whether or not to leave New York forever, I simply ordered a coffee. I didn’t enter Starbucks looking for a moment. I had no expectations and had no anticipation. And it worked out great. ?

My point is, I would recommend not having sex on prom night. Try it out on a random Thursday. It just makes it easier for everyone.

_____

When I was a freshman in college I had a crush on a nice girl from California named Lisa. Moving from New York City to Nowhere, North Carolina was a massive shakeup for me and I initially hated it. But, at Ballroom Dancing Club, I met Lisa.

Despite her relatively heavy step at salsa, we became friends! Now, I’d never had a real girlfriend at that time, usually because I was constantly nominating myself for the position of Mayor of The Friendzone. But that was high school. I was a new Robert. I made it very clear that I was not just a friend. At least, I thought I did. And I actually liked Lisa! She loved Dido and Third Eye Blind. She was very sensible but had good, positive energy. And, let’s be real, she was from California.

Those early weeks of college, I couldn’t sleep. I’d twist and turn on my lofted-bed dreaming of home until I remembered Lisa. And I’d breathe and be asleep. ?

Lisa was a coffee addict. She mentioned coffee in all of our conversations. She just could not live without coffee. So, one late fall morning, I woke up very early, intent on making my own Seth-Cohen-stands-on-a-table moment. I walked across campus and bought a small cup of coffee. I knocked on her door. She had been sleeping. She took the coffee. ?

This story still annoys me so I’m going to cut to the point. Before our first break, I told myself to step up my game and tell her how I felt. I don’t remember what she said, except that it started with, “Aw.” I’d seen enough Everwood to know that was a bad sign. I left her dorm heading for two years of taking out my frustrations on nice girls afterward.

It is possible I associated coffee with Lisa, which is why I never tried it. Which is stupid.

_____

I lived with a coffee addict. Every morning, my college roommate, who looked very much like Matthew McConaughey, would limp from his room looking more like Willem Dafoe. I thought he was exaggerating. But he wasn’t. Only once we’d committed to being late to our Religion in the Media class and he’d drank his regular coffee from the campus coffee shop did his Florida sunshine come back. ?

I thought about staging an intervention except I gathered that this was fairly normal for most college students. And so I, like a good Christian boy, abstained. It was simple. I would rather not reenact Jekyll and Hyde with myself every morning.

_____

Much of America might not know of the Mid-Atlantic’s greatest obsession: Wawa. I do not share this obsession nor do I understand it. As Shakespeare might argue, “A 7-Eleven by another name will still be open for 24 hours.” But if the beautiful people of Delaware need something to believe in, let Wawa be it. My mother, hardly an avid coffee drinker, will stop and grab her coffee from Wawa without fail whenever we are driving through Pennsylvania.

_____

I have had coffee about 8 times since that day. I’ve decided that I like it! I have been back to Starbucks. The intense desire to run a half-marathon I got when I first started having coffee has more or else subsided. I get the lingo now. “How many sugars?” really means “How many spoonfuls of sugar do you want?” That phrasing is weird. Not that I’m a grammar czar or anything. (If you’ve read this far into this piece, that should be obvious.) ?

When evaluating coffee’s place is my life, it finds itself nestled in between Delirium Tremens and whole milk. But if I had a choice, I’d probably stick with my go-to drink: Arizona Iced Tea. Either Green Tea with Apple or Mango Madness. I like the sweet stuff. TC mark

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Understand the Patterns
  • http://www.facebook.com/grc15r Gregory Costa

    I’m in disbelief that you’ve only had your first coffee NOW.  Here in Massachusetts/RI, we grow up on coffee milk and naturally transition to the real thing…..I think I read a Bradbury short story about you.  Your mom didn’t keep you locked up in the house until you were 12 and tell you that this was the entire world, by any chance, right?  Then one day she died and you escaped your confinement and discovered….coffee!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002918059806 Nikki Lowson

      I am 32 and never had coffee :D

      • http://www.facebook.com/grc15r Gregory Costa

        What?!  I’m not suggesting that you drop acid, adopt Scientology, or down tequila and snake venom.  I’m suggesting you…I don’t know.  Take a drive to Dunkin’ Donuts.  You need to experience how gross coffee is before you acquire a taste for liquid coffee bean.   

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002918059806 Nikki Lowson

        Never been to a dunkin’ donuts either…although I do love donuts! We don’t have them over here (UK)  With the coffee thing…I guess its because neither of my parents ever had coffee at home… our hot beverage of choice was and still is tea.  I think its a British thing :D

      • http://www.facebook.com/grc15r Gregory Costa

        Well, blood pudding is one of my favorite foods…no lie.  The Portuguese eat anything that’s remotely edible.   So in return, you should have a coffee. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=41508118 Caity Sherlock

    marry me.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t/can’t understand coffee addiction. I’d rather boil my head than drink a tepid brown liquid upon waking.

    • Mamajamerson

      Tepid? Clearly, you are doing it wrong.

      • Anonymous

        Tepid, warm, hot, boiling…if its temperature is above very very cold, I ain’t drinking it. Not to mention the stench.

  • Anonymous

    Next you’ll be grinding up sustainably sourced coffee beans –
    the fresh kind with weird names – and throwing ‘em in a French press.  Yes, it’s awesome. 

  • Michaelwg

    Welcome to the fold, brother. muhu..muhuha…muhuhahaha!!!!
    No seriously, coffee’s the shizzle.

  • http://raymondthimmes.com/ Raymond Thimmes

    “I left her dorm heading for two years of taking out my frustrations on nice girls afterward.” – pretty much my life.

    I really appreciate your style. I don’t remember my first coffee. Or really my first anything. I think that says something terrible about me? I don’t know. Anyway, let’s grab a cup sometime.

  • Ted Pillow

    “My thumbs ferociously pounded the changes onto the Notes section of my iPod Touch as if I was training for Thumb Wars: Normandy Edition. ”
    Awesome.

  • Oliver Miller

    Wawa, fuck yeah.

  • http://twitter.com/new_territories Samantha Culp

    “I love how it makes me feel. It’s like my heart is trying to hug my brain!”
    (Just goes to show there’s a 30 Rock quote for every occasion)

  • Mamajamerson

    I cannot relate. I remember my Grampa making me a cup of  coffee (watered/milked down to the point it was barely even beige) when I was a wee girl. 

    Still, it was a very enjoyable read.

  • Oli Rob Ver

    I don’t like coffee at all but let me tell you this ok because your article is the best thing I’ve read in a while on thought catalog

  • Margm001

    I was so validated by your mention of wawa. And then you had to go and say you don’t get it. Wawa is not 7-Eleven by another name. It is superior. But I’m glad you like coffee and you gave good advice

    • http://twitter.com/robwoh Robert Wohner

      Hey! Here’s my official position on such things:  I’m so open-minded when it comes to where people like to purchase their occasional snacks. Wawa. 7-Eleven. Sheetz. Pilot. Bodegas. Convenience Stores. Family Dollar. Whatever. It all works. 

      In general, the gummy bears at Pilot are best. But the gummy sharks at 7-Eleven are unbelievably good. Also, their corndogs are hot at all hours of the night. And the Slurpee speaks for itself. It’s brilliant. So I know people that love Wawa. But I’m just not sure what it brings to the road trip.

  • Anonymous

    I love your writing style, Robert.

  • Guest

    i can totally relate! i’m 19 and just started drinking coffee too(: 

  • internetfemale

    this made me smile as I read it

  • Erin

    I’ve never had coffee either! I don’t care for the taste, I don’t have the money to support what I’m sure is a debilitating habit, and I am determined to never become one of those monsters that can’t function until he/she has had their morning cup. Seriously just stop guys it’s embarrassing. 

    • Farah

       But… If you have never had coffee, how do you know you don’t care for the taste?

      • Erin

        Haha nice point, I mean that I’ve never actually sat down and made/ordered a coffee..of course I’ve tasted it before but always sips from someone else’s !

  • Guest

    Lol “trying sex”

  • Shatha H.

    I hate coffee…always thought it doesnt taste good…until the first time i tried it! I gave it up for good :)

  • guest

    Go Robert! Elon pride

  • http://twitter.com/infinyte00 Rx

    Nice article!  Welcome to the coffee world, Robert!  With moderate consumption, coffee has many health benefits.  Cheers!

  • Anonymous

    I like it!The sugar question sounds more natural to me that way (except I’m usually asking about tea). My parents were close to disowning me because the ” Tea Gene” hadn’t expressed itself and then after staying in the Gaeltacht, I came home hooked.But you do feel left out a little if you don’t.Also I love you for the O.C reference !:D

  • a.

    Was I the only one who hated the writing in this?!

  • http://www.twitter.com/mexifrida Frida

    It’s ok, I hadn’t drunk coffee or had a mac before I listened to Elliott Smith.

  • Hannah Levin

    this was a lovely article, good job

  • Anonymous

    my mother didn’t drink coffee (or alcohol) until she was 30. she currently is a coffee addict and borderline alcoholic. so there’s still hope for you. 

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