November 27, 2010

Of Buttons and Humble Beginnings

Coffee as hand warmers. So reads a button we've got at work. It's pithy, cute, and oddly accurate. Allow me a bit of nostalgia in telling you why.

There was a time, only several years ago, when I did not drink coffee. In fact, the stuff seemed decidedly bitter and unpalatable to me. On the rare occasion that I ventured in to a coffee bar, I would order a chai latte. And while I must confess to still possessing a decided weakness for chai, black coffee is of course my forte now.

But again, that was not always the case. Coffee is, as you'll all have heard, an acquired taste. That is, the person who first drinks coffee and enjoys it is rare indeed. Even I, as avid an advocate for the stuff as you'll find, will readily admit that. How I went about acquiring that taste is where the idea of coffee as a hand warmer comes in.

Quite simply, at a previous job, one of the benefits was free coffee. It was winter, and it was cold. And since my hands are nearly always freezing (really kind of odd, actually, but another story altogether) I took to grabbing a cup of coffee, and carrying it around campus with me.

It would be simple to say something about the rest being history, but the truth is, I didn't start drinking the coffee itself. My first foray was a latte, purchased from a Starbucks located in a Target store, which I put two packets of honey in. I can tell you, without exaggeration, that I was somewhat afraid to try the stuff. I'm not sure what I expected, honestly - but I didn't expect to like it one bit. Of course, I found myself oddly smitten by the end of the cup. My latte affinity eventually allowed me to drink coffee, loaded with (skim) milk and honey (I was, and remain, something of a health nut). The additives became unnecessary at some point. 

So coffee as hand warmers is, to me, more than a cute little button. It's something of a signpost for me, marking the beginning of what has become, obviously enough, one of my primary passions in life. Weird.

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