At a recent campaign meeting on Angie’s side porch, while working on the re-election of our favorite town council candidate, Angie offers the group coffee. Along with the coffee she offers soy milk, almond milk, oat milk, 1% milk. All 3 say no thanks, I drink it black. One turns to Laura and winks. The other turns to Laura and says I drink mine black now, too. Fully caffeinated and several hours later, the meeting ends.
Later that day.
A: so what’s with all the black coffee?
A: now everyone drinks it black bc u wrote it in a facebook post about your mom?
L: apparently so
L: u have no idea how many people have told me they drink their coffee black
A: wait, really?
You probably have no idea what we’re talking about. Here’s the tea. After Laura’s mom died, she posted a tribute to her on Facebook and described some of her best qualities and some of the lessons she learned from her. Among that long list, she noted that her mother taught her to drink her coffee black. It’s not life-changing advice, yet it seems to resonate with a surprising number of people. We’re not sure why.
Maybe it’s because Laura’s mom’s advice feels nostalgic.
At the time, there weren’t dedicated coffee shops on every corner.
At the time, there weren’t 8 kinds of non-milk creamers, only room temp half & half pods.
At the time, it was smart to be able to drink coffee black and not be so fussy.
Maybe it’s because Laura’s mom’s advice is practical.
Learn to muddle through things.
Learn that you can do anything you set your mind to.
Learn that there’s no need to unnecessarily complicate your life.
Maybe it’s because Laura’s mom’s advice is a perfect metaphor for how our generation was raised. Man up (we know, we know). Can’t find milk for your coffee? Drink it black. You’re bored? Go outside and play kick the can until it’s time to come in for dinner. Have period cramps? Scrub the kitchen floor or run around the block. Mind over matter was the backbone of our generation. Get up off the floor and push through things, sometimes for better and sometimes for worse.
So maybe ‘she taught me to drink my coffee black’ hits home because this vivid detail is the perfect example of a parent giving a child sensible, sound, pull-up-your-bootstraps advice. And maybe we’ve missed that.
Convo while standing on the sidewalk last week.
L: I just got a text from my niece who’s staying with us
L: she wants me to bring her a drink from starbucks
L: can you help me order it on the mobile app
A: kinda scary I’m your IT girl, but sure, what does she want
L: non-fat grande iced chai latte
A: get on the app
Laura gets on the app and shocker alert, we can’t find the drink.
A: omg, you’re on the hot coffee tab, go to iced coffee
L: what’s wrong with me? wait, I’m in the iced coffee tab and I still don’t see it
A: shit, I don’t see it either, where is it?
A: omg, look. there’s a chai tab. she wanted chai.
L: i'm embarrassed, what is wrong with us?
A: so many things
A: but never mind that, what even is chai?