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I now stop at coffee shops and coffee drive-thrus before I go almost every place that I go except the gym. I leave early to accomplish this. The thing that makes it so ridiculous is that I’m just getting coffee– normal coffee. I have a cupboard full of high-quality coffee as well as many very pretty travel mugs to put it in. What I do not have is half & half.

Ever since that stupid museum, I can’t get enough half & half. Its like the thing that was missing that I didn’t know was missing and now that it’s in my life, I can’t let it go. I crave it hourly. I watched MTV True Life “I’m Obese” once (okay more than once), and one of the girls carried around a bottle of ranch in her purse. Maybe she started out like this. I don’t even know what it is; half & half of what & what? I’m now drinking 3 times as much coffee as before and scheming how to get another coffee while I’m still in the middle of drinking one. It’s like crack…. I imagine.

So now that I’ve admitted that I have a problem, I should do something about it right? Well, I don’t want to. Despite the shame, I love everything about this. I love drinking a scandalous amount of coffee. For some reason, the half & half tempers the acidity of the coffee, so I get big, wide-awake eyes, and unflappable ambition without the shaking. This is what I’ve been waiting for my entire life.

Now, my dilemma is: should I save money and buy some half & half for the home so I can feed my addiction more economically? or do I keep frequenting coffee vendors to get my fix? Frugality, obviously, dictates that buying a $.75 carton of half and half is the sensible thing to do, but the idea of buying half & half is appalling to me still.

It’s horrifying that I’m spending so much time and energy thinking about/ writing about this problem, but my excessive consumption of coffee has given me way too much energy, which makes obsessing about this not really a problem at all– just pretty embarrassing. I have never been more productive– maybe more like I’ve rarely been more productive, either way, this is the most productive I’ve been in recent memory. Maybe my stupid coffee pride has been holding me back.


Frugality won out as I wrote down my monthly expenses and weighed then against my monthly income. Pretty bleak. I purchased my very first carton of half & half ever today at Cashwise Grocery. I didn’t even know where to find it–dairy case, obviously– but the dairy case it a pretty big area and half & half cartons are very small. Is it next to the cream cheese? I wondered. Cream cheese being another thing I only recently purchased for the first time, and couldn’t find in the moment.

Half & half section discovered, I was faced with the overwhelming different varieties. Fat-free (scary), gourmet (what?), green carton, tan carton. I settled for good old Cass-Clay because their cottage cheese has never let me down. Now I just have to get up the courage to open the stupid thing and use it.

Yesterday I spoke to a man on the phone named Cum. I had him spell it for me. Customer care for Pepsi Americas dictates that we have to say the customer’s name twice. I tried to say it quickly with my mouth mostly closed so it sounded like cmmm.

I don’t know why stuff like this still surprises me. I’ve had an old man–I believe his name was Earl or something like that– ask me for 20 minutes of hot lovin’; I took an order from a guy named Urine (yoor-een); I’ve had a conversation with two thickly-accented, frantic Indian guys at the same time who got frustrated with me when I didn’t understand them.

Still, a guy named Cum is something you notice.

LeAnn and I went to the BodyWorks exhibit at the Denver Museum of Science (and Nature?) Anyway, the exhibit was awesome, but not really the point of this little story because I have only one complaint about it.

After two hours of learning, the mind tends to feel a little overwhelmed. Instead of going to appreciate the rest of the museum, we decided to go to the Deli area and have coffee. I love coffee. I drink my coffee black and strong and am proud of that. What makes me even prouder is the fact that I had to make myself like coffee. I used to hate it, and I was a little afraid of it. My Mom hates coffee so it was rarely in the house except on holidays when she would break out this 1.5 foot tall behemoth that made fascinating and intimidating noises seemingly at random. The only people that ever drank from this scary contraption were all of my old relatives who smelled a little funny and always asked me what grade I was in and why I didn’t play any sports like my brother.

When I was a sophomore in high school I decided that the only way I could succeed in college was by liking coffee. If I didn’t go to college, it would be because I was a published writer, and no writer can succeed without a coffee (or other) habit. I didn’t want to be someone who merely liked coffee, but a person who needed coffee. I have very few addictions so I was completely fascinated with the notion of needing something so much that people would understand I was someone who had needs and they’d better be met or bad things may happen.

I got a tiny four cup coffee maker and bought a bunch of (crappy) coffee. Every day after my 6am aerobics class I would come home, shower, and suck down a pot of the strongest coffee I could tolerate. It wasn’t about taste or enjoyment or savoring the moment; it was about getting it done in the hopes that I would trick myself into liking it, or forget that I didn’t.

Eventually I started getting severe stomach pains from all of my trying so I had to back off, but I came back successfully and have been obsessed with coffee ever since.

The coffee cart at the museum was inexplicably closed, but no matter because that was another coffee bar that had the self-serve pots sitting on it. One regular, one decaf, one hot water, one 2%ilk and one half-and-half. I saw the pot of half-and-half and inwardly scoffed, berating the people who need to undermine the glory that is coffee with whiteners and sweeteners and whatever else. Half-and-half has always horrified me; the notion of drinking fat is something that does not sit well with me.

I started filling a paper cup with regular coffee, and at about 1/4 full it stopped coming out. There was no other pot of regular and I will not– will never!–drink decaf. What to do? The place was severely understaffed. The coffee cart was closed and the lone cashier couldn’t be expected to abandon her post to make more coffee for two girls so selfish as we. LeAnn managed to find another little old lady hiding in the back doing dishes and told her that we were in dire straits. We then stood there for fifteen minutes waiting for the coffee to emerge from behind the counter. We peeked back at intervals and saw nothing coming out of the brewer. We had been had.

So we settled for tea and got in line to pay. Naturally, the woman came out with the coffee after we already dunked the tea bags and couldn�t not take them, so LeAnn paid for the tea and I went to get some coffee as well.

I filled two paper cups and put half-and-half in LeAnn’s. Then, as if operating independent of my actual wants and needs, I squirted a very liberal amount into my own cup. I put in so much half-and-half that my drink was cooled down sufficiently for me to chug it in an amazingly short time. Then the coffee cart opened back up. I got into line, ordered a 20oz cup and added a ridiculous amount of half-and-half. After chugging that cup I felt, a little warm, and also a clarity that has escaped my recent coffee drinking experiences. Right now, I’m going to blame the altitude for my lapse into the “slightly bitter milk” milieu, but I’m craving more of that beautifully colored, completely mild, and gloriously fattening beverage. Here come the questions: What does this mean? Have I capriciously abandoned my principles? Am I getting so old that the thought of pouring scalding hot acidic liquid directly into my stomach is unappealing?

At least it wasn’t decaf–I couldn’t live with myself.