October 1, 2012

What Matters

People complain about things, and that's fine. It happens, and it doesn't mean I - or anyone else - needs to pay it any mind. Still, I've been reading some high profile articles lately, damning the whole "foodie" thing, specialty coffee, fancy wine, etc. The argument, basically, is that we're latching on to relatively cheap indulgences to make ourselves feel privileged, that we're grasping at pseudo-elitism.

And while I understand that obsessing over single origin beans - or whatever other culinary delicacy you might fancy - is ultimately frivolous, I don't think that's what this is about. It is, rather, people being pissy that some people like things that they do not. Juvenile, yes, but just that simple.

Furthermore, we can be that reductive about anything, if we so choose. After all, people are dying right now, of starvation, disease, gunfire, etc. There are infinite cruelties being committed at this moment, at every moment, so we could easily decide to never enjoy anything.

But it just doesn't matter, they might protest. It's just coffee; it's not important. Well, sure. On a long enough timeline, whatever pleasure I derive from this beverage does not matter. In the grand scheme of things, it is totally irrelevant. But you know what? In a few thousand years, our cities will be gone, and so will we. The Universe is bigger than we are, so much bigger than we can possibly fathom. It doesn't care what coffee I drink, sure; but it doesn't care about anything anyone else does either.

This is neither fatalism or nihilism, however. I'm not saying that life and its pleasures don't matter to us - indeed, they are everything. So when I buy apples and sweet potatoes from local farmers, or Yirgacheffe from a local roaster, I'm not grasping at some imagined hipster ideal. I'm buying things that I like, from people I like, because it makes my life better, and there's too.

And, as much as anything ultimately can, that matters. I'm here, now, living the one life I know for sure I've got. It would be a shame to waste it drinking shitty coffee.