Yesterday on the #2 bus, two older dudes sitting behind me started talking about social media.
“I don’t get it. People make all these posts, and it’s like… who gives a shit?”
All the typical curmudgeonly points were hit. I hung on their every word, hoping to overhear a particularly dumb morsel of opinion that I could later turn into a really good joke. But then, things got personal, and a crusade was born.
“Like, you made a pot of coffee. Who gives a shit?”
Naturally, I whipped out my smart phone, and made a Facebook post about this comment. I WILL FIGHT YOU WITH THE WEAPON YOU MOST HATE, OLD DUDES ON THE BUS.
Here’s why that particular comment made me so annoyed. I give all the shits when one of my friends posts a picture of their coffee on Facebook or Instagram. Maybe that makes me a silly, materialistic Millenial, whatever. But I’ve been thinking long and hard about why I like that other peoples’ pictures of coffee are so readily available in the palm of my hand.
And, so, a list of all the reasons I sincerely care about your Instagram pictures of your coffee:
1. For me, getting up to make my own coffee, or taking a walk to my favorite neighborhood coffeeshop and bakery, or even plotting out my bus ride to work so that I have enough time to hit up Starbucks or Caribou before starting my day… these are all 100% acts of self-care and self-love. The feeling of a warm cup in my hand on a chilly day or the refreshment that comes with a good cold brew on a hot day are little indulgences that remind me that there is at least a small, caffeinated bit of me that doesn’t hate the rest of me. Nice Me is willing to go the extra mile, sometimes literally, in pursuit of 12 oz. of Pick-Me-Up.
When someone dear to me posts a picture of their morning coffee, I’m really happy, because I get to witness my friends taking care of themselves in a small way. Clicking “Like” on someone’s coffee post is an Internet high-five. “Hell yeah, iced vanilla latte! You go get ’em, tiger!”
Waking up on time to enjoy a cup of coffee means that I haven’t given up. And I hope it means that you haven’t given up either, because I think you’re amazing.
2. The origin of my coffee appreciation is deeply rooted in friendship. One of my best friends from college worked part-time at a Starbucks while we were also working together part-time at the aquarium. Becca lived close enough to me that she would come and pick me up on days for which we were both scheduled. Almost every single day, she stopped first at her Starbucks store. I didn’t like coffee, so she would bring me a hot chocolate.
One fateful day in December, Becca brought me my favorite holiday drink of all time: a peppermint hot chocolate. She apologized when she handed it to me.
“The barista misheard me, and put a shot of espresso in this. I don’t know if you’ll like it.”
Skeptical, but unwilling to discard the product of my friend’s supreme thoughtfulness and generosity, I sipped the hot chocolate.
You know the Halloween episode of Rocko’s Modern Life where Filburt eats a piece of candy for the first time? This was basically that, but with a chocolate coffee holiday monstrosity.
Becca brought me a peppermint mocha throughout the rest of that season, and the rest is history.
Eventually, Becca and I moved to different parts of town, but she would still come and pick me up on aquarium mornings. We upgraded to a fancier coffee shop. Sometimes Becca’s new boyfriend joined us, and it was a great opportunity to get to know this person who loves my friend. These are the best morning memories I have.
Becca moved to Boston with her boyfriend almost a year ago, and I miss her every day. Even before coffee mornings, we’d been getting breakfast together since college when we were both in the same early morning “Shakespeare and the Folktale” class. When I drink coffee, no matter where I am, I think about Becca. I think about a friend who stuck by me through some of the darkest periods of my depression. I think about a friend who waited with me outside in New York City in January at 8 am to procure rush tickets for Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. If Becca posts a picture of coffee on Facebook, you bet your ass I’m going to click “Love” on that.
3. WE HAVEN’T EVEN TALKED ABOUT COFFEE MUGS YET.
This past November, two of my favorite people on Earth got married in Savannah, GA. Guys, it was so awesome. All the groomsmen and their significant others, the photographer, and myself and my boyfriend were put up in a beach house on Tybee Island, where we spent the pre-ceremony weekend eating snacks and playing board games. Friendship heaven.
On the morning of the wedding, I woke up in the beach house to the groom and his Best Man cooking breakfast and making coffee for everyone. I’m not sure there’s a better smell to start a day than that of coffee and bacon being prepared. I felt almost overwhelmed at the joy I experienced in watching these two friends make breakfast together at the start of what was going to be an amazing day.
The ceremony, which I had the privilege of officiating, was gorgeous, of course. Afterwards, we retreated to the groom’s mother’s home, and got ready to dig into the breakfast food reception. As favors, the couple had assembled a variety of random coffee mugs. We each chose our favorite mug to take home. After a heated bout of Rock-Paper-Scissors with my friend, Chris, I wrapped my hands around my now treasured Hardee’s Rise-n-Shine mug.
When I drink from my Hardee’s mug, I remember that wedding. I remember being witness to the various forms of love between all of my friends that weekend. I remember waking up to my friends making coffee.
Everything about a good cup of coffee gives me comfort. Coffee is something I love that so far is only associated with positive moments of my life. Sometimes I judge myself for what I worry is an inherent materialism surrounding acts of self-care. “It shouldn’t take a lavender-scented candle or a soft stuffed animal or a peppermint mocha to make me feel better.”
But those things do make me feel better. If something makes one of my friends feel better, I want them to have that thing. So, I’m endeavoring to allow myself the little, material pleasures that shed some sunshine on my day.
I will never roll my eyes at you for posting a picture of your coffee to Facebook. Coffee’s great, and I’m glad that you have it. Because you’re great, and I’m glad that I have you.
Rise and shine.