(originally published here on October 9, 2006)
So today I finally got out of the house after what seemed like a million days stuck inside (although in actuality it was probably less than seven, which is why my husband is in charge of all math in our relationship), so I went to hang out at the tiny Starbucks at our grocery store. It reminded me of a trip to Seattle I took about 7 years ago to visit my two oldest friends in the world, which was also my introduction to Starbucks. Here was my reaction.
Back when I was in high school peer pressure was easy to spot, and there were always very clear-cut reasons available to me for saying “No”. Smoking? Um, no thanks, on account of all the cancer and all the death. Drinking? Hm, think I’ll pass, as I have no desire for my parents to kill me for engaging in such behavior. Sex? I couldn’t stand anyone else’s children; I certainly didn’t want any of my own.
But by the time I finally finished school, got married, and entered my thirties, I began to relax. Surely, I thought, the time of being scorned for being “different” had passed.
Oh silly, naive woman.
All that getting older meant was that I was now eligible to experience Peer Pressure For The 21st Century. What might that be, you ask? Only every time someone turns to me and says, “Hey, you wanna go and get some coffee?” Because no, I don’t. And apparently, the fact that I am thirty-four years old and do not drink coffee makes me just as much of a nerd now as I was back when I wore maroon knee socks to the first day of eighth grade.
And what I want to know is, just who got to make that rule? Because I hate to break it to you, all you super-caffeinated, latte-loving, Hot Beverage Elitists. But coffee? Does Not Taste Good. And deep down in your secret heart of hearts, I know you know this too. Why else would we now have specialty coffee shops selling a multitude of coffee products specifically designed to camouflage the taste of coffee by adding a zillion other flavors?
Yet all you coffee drinkers persist in proselytizing us “unconverted” with the zeal of someone who will be forever banned from Brewed Bean Heaven by the Java Gods themselves if you fail in your mission to convert us to your way of thinking. (Seriously, what’s up with that?) Because, no, I would not like to try your coffee ice cream, coffee gum, coffee milkshakes, or coffee iced beverages. Because the whole “tastes-like-coffee” part? Would be the part I hate!
And it doesn’t do any good to try and explain this to you. Apparently, the possibility of another human being not enjoying your own personal Elixir Of Life is completely incomprehensible to you. Because every time I try, you all just look at me with the dazed, blank expression that would’ve been appropriate had I just announced, “You know, I feel so much freer now that I’ve decided to go naked from the waist down.”
The reason that I’m bringing all of this up right now is that I just spent the last week in Seattle which is, of course, The Mecca Of All Things Coffee. I didn’t think anything about it until I discovered that the friends I was visiting were all coffee drinkers. And unfortunately, they are also Friends Who Know Things About Me, which gave them some pretty serious leverage to hold over me if they so chose. (As in, “Hey, Jen. Remember how back when we were ten we used to compete over who would get braces first because we thought braces were really cool? And so we’d put paper clips on our teeth and …” ACK! No! Please stop! I’ll drink anything you want if you just please stop talking now!)
Fortunately for me, these friends are also very nice. (Hi, Jen. Hi, Ana.) But they were definitely Women On A Mission last week, a mission they tricked me into joining through the following conversation:
Jen and Ana: “Have you ever actually tried coffee?”
Me: “Well, no.”
Jen and Ana: “So how do you KNOW that you don’t like it?”
Me: “Damn you and your evil logic!”
But because they are nice they decided to work me up gradually to the point of consuming beverages containing actual coffee. So first we started out with a nice Chai Tea Latte. Then we worked our way up to a tasty Snickers Steamer. And then, on Saturday evening, came the moment of truth: a Pumpkin Spice Latte. Which I tried. And did not like. Because…wait for it…IT TASTED LIKE COFFEE!
They were nice about it though, and gave me lots of credit for trying, although I still don’t think they were completely convinced (What? You no longer wear any pants? What?)
But I survived and have now returned to The Land Of Coke which, as everyone knows, is the only drink you’ll ever need.
What?! You don’t like Coke? Dude! Seriously. What’s wrong with you?