Mornings are tough,” writes a friend. And she’s not the only one. Another, a woman I’ve known much longer, feels just the same: “Every day,” she tells me, “I wake with such dread.” A third insists coffee is the only reason—and she’s not being funny or glib. “If not for coffee,” she says, “I’d never get out of bed.” Of course, some people don’t get out of bed—some have their first cup delivered on a tray with a bud in a vase. Or just all by itself in a big friendly mug.
Nice work if you can get it, but it wouldn’t work for me.
Zoom in from the sliding glass doors on a woman in her robe, and, depending on the season, very possibly socks, sliding from the sink to the stove (a wide shot, in the animated version): she loves that time, between turning up the flame under the kettle—and dampening the filter, and grinding and measuring the grounds, and breathing them in (tighter here, tight as possible, nose in the bag)—and the moment when the coffee is ready to pour.
Maybe, in those minutes, she—I—she is me, of course—maybe I take note of the color of the sky; maybe I grab for my phone to take a picture of the sun coming up through the leaves of the Chinese elm (the same picture again and again, I keep taking it as if it will be different, as if I’ll get it right); or maybe the counters need wiping—coffee dust here and there, also parmesan cheese from the previous evening, or a smear of red sauce, or a glisten of oil—
There is maybe laundry to get from the dryer, or a pile in a basket to fold—
There’s checking Instagram, of course—then email, then Twitter (I’ve given up Facebook, except for Scrabble)—
Often, there’s a puzzle on the long kitchen table: I might even manage a piece before I pour my first cup—
Excerpted from Coffee, by Dinah Lenney, part of the Object Lessons series, with permission of the publisher, Bloomsbury.