This is the first time I've had the courage to admit this publicly: I don't drink coffee. No, I'm not one of those think piece heroes who went a year without his or her blessed brew and never looked back. I don't drink coffee, and I never have.
Yes, I'm very brave. I know you have a lot of questions. I know this because I hear them over and over again, through horrified expressions. So now, I'm here to answer them.
For all you others out there in the same predicament, know you're not alone. Here are five questions people who don't drink coffee are tired of answering:
1. "Do you want to grab coffee sometime?"
In our society -- where the coolest thing you can say is “Don't talk to me until I've had my morning coffee” -- letting people know you don't indulge in it makes them think you're on the fast track toward becoming a leper. So, when someone asks me to coffee, there's a conundrum.
I can say “sure” and skip off with someone to a coffee shop, where I will promptly order a croissant. If I do that, he or she will ask if I want coffee.
I will tell that person I don't drink it, he or she will be confused and then, he or she will feel bad we didn't go somewhere else. But people don't understand I love croissants.
"Are you poor? Is there something wrong with your taste buds? Are you dying?"
No, none of that. I'm not allergic. I wasn't bitten by a coffee bean as a child.
I just don't like coffee because it doesn't taste good. I know, deep down, that you all know it's true, but you've acclimated yourself to the taste because you like how it makes you feel. It's kind of like having good sex with a bad guy.
3. "How do you survive?"
Well, I wake up every day, stretch like an adorable kitten, let the birds dress me and sing songs with the mice. Then, I'm on my way.
Honestly, it's not that hard. When people hear I don't drink coffee, they're amazed I'm able to wake up each day. But coffee is like any other addiction: If you never start it, you don't feel like you need it.
Some days, I'm tired, and some days, I'm not. But my brain has never had a foreign substance create whatever chemicals make it easier for me to greet my coworkers without screaming. So, it makes those chemicals on its own most of the time.
4. "What do you drink?"
"You don't drink coffee? Do you drink tea? Tell me you still drink Capri Sun."
Yes, I drink other things: mostly water and whiskey. The problem isn't that my body is broken, or that I've forgotten how to drink altogether. Not drinking coffee is a choice, and it's not even a difficult one. I barely think about it until someone asks me to get coffee, and then, the horror begins again.
5. "Will you just try my coffee?"
No. This is by far the worst question people ask. I've been tasting your gross coffee for over a decade now because you keep claiming, “This one doesn't even taste like coffee.” But it always does.
It tastes like coffee that's been mixed with cream, sugar and the souls of your enemies (or whatever else you guys put in your elixirs). Whatever it is, it doesn't cover the taste of the coffee.
I don't want to taste your coffee, or your blasphemous, coffee-flavored ice cream. I just want to be left alone in this dark cave, while I wait for the others to find me.