Thursday, July 26, 2012

Cup o' Joe

I'm pretty sure we were heading up to New York for cousin Betsy's wedding when the coffee drama unfolded.

I don't drink coffee. Having never acquired a taste for brown water that tastes like bitter, burnt beans, the whole coffee craze that overtakes most people when they graduate from adolescence to adulthood passed me by without a second glance.

And then there's the problem with it being hot. I'm already finagling with the thermostat to maintain a domestic climate as cold as humanly tolerable, so the last thing I need is to gulp down a mug of 110-degree toilet water that'll raise my core temperature and make me break out in a full-body flop sweat. Iced vanilla lattes are the closest I'll ever get, and that's only because they're 70 degrees colder than coffee and taste like super-sweetened vanilla. When I need a jolt of caffeine, I reach for a Diet Coke.

But on that day when we started our 10-hour drive to New York, I thought it would be a great idea to try and behave like other adults and carry along a mug of strong coffee. I had stopped at Breugger's Bagels a few days earlier and purchased their refillable travel mug, which seemed like a great deal at the time. As we passed through Raleigh, I declared it necessary to stop at Breugger's to pick up bagels to nosh and top off my fancy new Breugger's travel mug.

Breugger's idea of
a travel mug.
Two problems: (1) Regardless of how much I try to convince myself it is the drink of choice for discerning adults, and no matter how many packets of Equal and spoonfuls of flavored creamer I mix into it, I don't like coffee; and (2) Breugger's Bagels' idea of a travel mug was something only slightly smaller than a whiskey barrel with a handle. I knew the mug would pose a problem from the moment I bought it, but I had already paid for it and was stuck with the prospect of making it work, whether or not I believed it could.

With a full barrel of coffee and a couple bagels to go, we walked back to the car to head off on our trip. My Lovely Wife, for whatever reason, was holding the travel mug when she dropped herself into the front passenger seat. As she landed, coffee sloshed and splattered out of the small hole in the lid and sprayed all over her white jeans shorts. Vociferous disgruntlement ensued in the form of clearly stated declarations decrying the poor design of the travel mug and the nonsensical behavior of a coffee-hating person suddenly requiring a vat of hot coffee.

A good half hour was lost trying to figure out whether or not the shorts could be saved before we finally found ourselves toodling north along US1 in a very quiet -- some might say seething -- state. Because the gargantuan Breugger's travel mug did not fit in any of the cup holders, I decided to hide it out of site of My Lovely Wife on the floor between my feet, which was a great place for it when the car was not in a state of motion, but wasn't so great once my right foot had to wander off to work the pedals.

Less than a mile up the road, at one of the first stoplights to which we came, the stupidity of the situation hit me full force as the mug tipped over, leaned like a fallen tree against my left leg, and swiftly poured a torrent of hot coffee into my shoe. I quickly pulled into the nearest gas station, threw the car into park, bolted out of my seat, and unceremoniously chucked the mug in the nearest trash can.

Ever since then, I've stuck to Diet Coke. Not only doesn't it splatter willy nilly on white shorts, or turn my socks brown, or make My Lovely Wife cranky, I actually like it.

© 2011 Mark Feggeler


  1. Mark--

    You know you could have filled it with hot chocolate and PRETENDED it was coffee.

    Too late now. ;)

    I'm with you. I don't like the taste of coffee unless it has lots of milk and chocolate or other flavorings. It's too bitter.

    1. Your adventures alway make me laugh!!

    2. And yes, hot chocolate is good stuff.