Gather around everyone, I have a startling confession to make. I don’t like coffee – I know, try not to faint. I’m one of those mythical creatures you only hear about in hushed tones; the kind that causes villagers to grab their pitchforks in fear and confused anger. I don’t like it. I don’t like the taste or the strange effects it has on my body and I don’t understand why you’re all so into it.
It’s like people came together and decided that there simply weren’t enough bitter things in the world that result in a foul aftertaste, fuzzy teeth and feeling jittery all day.
Now this isn’t blind prejudice against coffee, I have tried this strange craze you are all so fond of. It was back in the day and I had been told over and over it was something I had to get into – an experience that was incomparable, as if Christ had risen himself and turned water into a rich caffeinated beverage. I drank it in, tried to like it, however I spat it back out in violent protest and immediately called a priest to rid me of this demonic substance.
I vowed from that day to never let this evil concoction meet my lips again.
Friends told me it was an acquired taste, something I had to get used to, as if it was an ABBA album. At first your ears bled from the sensation, but eventually you would be dancing around the living room in platforms and flared white pants while singing Mamma Mia – not that I’m speaking from experience.
Whenever anyone discovers my coffee distaste, I’m met with the same confused expression and response: ”So what do you drink then?” It’s as if coffee is the only drink in the world, and without it you wither up in a glorious death akin to the wicked witch in The Wizard of Oz (the Judy Garland version, not that horrible menace that recently wreaked havoc in cinemas).
I’m also sure I’m not alone in this painful plight. Coffee drinkers view us as if we are fatigued beyond belief and on the verge of giving in to crippling narcolepsy. One time I nodded off in public and a friend told me surely a coffee would sort me out. No, no it would not, anonymous friend. And try not to convert me to your frighteningly powerful cult while you’re at it.
Sure, mornings are slow and tough. And sure, I look like a cast member of The Walking Dead for the better part of the day and I may only greet you with an unintelligible grunt, but I’m happy with this.
I’m also aware I have some strange addictions myself, things I can’t possibly live without. Twitter for instance. I’m practically on an endless cycle of cute cat videos and updating the world on my latest happenings (because how else will my fans know I’ve just eaten a ham sandwich?). In fact, surgically attaching a phone (with internet access) to my body would probably make my life that much more convenient. So I can understand addictions, but some are just too horrible.
Coffee isn’t just a beverage, it’s become an unspoken religion – and followers pray to their coffee bean gods every morning, noon and night time (this last one is not for the fainthearted and uninitiated). To combat this, I may just have to form a secret society of likeminded anti-java individuals. We will probably be constantly huddled in fear, taking comfort in the knowledge that we are not alone, no matter how outnumbered we are by the caffeinated menace.
I dream of a day that I and other non-coffee drinkers can go outside and not be assaulted by judgment from others and the ever-frightening question “do you want coffee with that?”
This column was originally published in mX (April 11, 2013).