2021 Grateful 6: Mugs

Back in my Alaska days when the nearest coffee shop was as close to my house as the office was, but in the opposite direction, my order was always a grande latte with a dash of Irish Cream. That 20 ounces of coffee would keep me going all day. I drank it cold. I almost always drink my coffee cold as I forget I’ve made it. I get up to do something and am distracted. I have to discipline myself to sit and finish, concentrating just on that one cup of Joe.

Why do we call coffee Joe? You can pick your story. I like this one:

The most likely reason a “cup of Joe” means a “cup of coffee” is that “joe” is a shortened form of “jamoke,” which is a combination of the words “java” and “mocha.”

I don’t have the patience to wait or fiddle with a fancy machine or to grind beans and set them to boil. If someone is doing it for me, great. But left to my own devices, I’m a fan of instant. I’m currently in an Azera phase but may have to rethink that as I’ve just spent 20 minutes reading up on Nestlé. Damn. I like that coffee.

I have three go-to mugs, depending on my mood and the conversation I want to have in my head. They were all gifts. Using them is like having that person in the room, or at least hovering in the ether.

One is from a mate in Ireland. If you are Irish of my generation you’ve heard the refrain: Those biscuits are for the visitors! It’s my go-to when I’m feeling a little homesick or  want to vent so hard that I end up laughing at how ridiculous I’m being. She’s one of the funniest women I know.

Another is from a mate in Serbia. I choose that one when I need a gee up. When I need some perspective. When I need to think rationally about something. She’s one of the smartest women I know.

The third used to belong to the inimitable Johnny P, who sadly is no longer at the other end of the phone. That’s my nostalgia mug. My WTF mug. My laugh-at-the-world-and-don’t-let-it-get-me-down mug. He was and still is my greatest example of the unadulterated joy of living.

And then there are the ordinary mugs for ordinary days and ordinary conversations. I find I rarely use them anymore.

There was a stage in my life where all my mugs would have been matching … but those days are long gone. I’ve grown up. I now see the beauty in oddities and mismatches, the value of having different types of friends, in different places.

Mugs, as gifts, are definitely underrated. I’m grateful for the conscious choice I make when I go to make a cup of coffee.


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