But first, coffee

Written by Jazlin Romero, Staff Writer 

You might think that I would feel accomplished after yet another one of my early bird cardio workouts at the gym, but its 7:45 a.m. and almost time for work. Although I am already running late, I cannot begin my morning without my celestial pick-me-up, which always guarantees the merrier me or alertness after a bad night of sleep.

“Good morning, I’ll have a mocha latte, non-fat milk and a double shot of espresso, please,” I say as I arrive at the Starbucks drive-thru.

This daily itinerary requires an entire decision-making process as well.

It goes as follows…

1) Contemplating whether to use my debit card, if I have enough funds or my credit cards.

2) Scraping for change all over my car and wallet like a savage.            

3) Decide the type of milk, syrup, brew and the temperature I prefer each morning.

Thinking about this process illustrates my behavior and suggests a “sorry” level of addiction.

According to Psychology Today, coffee releases the neurotransmitter, dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical that has the ability to produce elation and pleasant moods for people. With this notion in mind, I have fiercely tried to justify my addiction and brush it off as though it was essential for my happiness, not only in my case, but in many others’ as well.

The most interesting thing about this Starbucks drive-thru I visit every morning, is the homeless man whom I have made a connection with and yet, he somehow manages to be a complete stranger. The elderly man, perhaps in his mid-sixties, sits at a table outside every morning and observes; he has a wrinkled face with desolate worn eyes. This man has a long distinctive beard with the driest gun metal gray hair I have ever seen. He is the homeless man who you do not feel sorry for because he presents the impression that he simply does not want you to. Incredulously, the roles are reversed. His stare reiterates that he feels sorry for you.  His unusual, but focused gaze has made driving up to this particular drive-thru uncomfortable for me.  Every morning his eyes seem to laser in on me as if I am his target for the day. His stare has the power to make me feel like I am selfish and foolish for spending my measly paycheck on overpriced lattes.  

Perhaps he is right. Veiled within the caramel-colored, creamy elixir and delicious aroma; is an addictive drug. This particular drug has successfully taken over my brain, and not to mention, 35% of my bi-weekly paycheck. However, every morning, I am the one who willingly sets myself up.

I think to myself, “I do not want it, but I need it; I do not need it, but I want it.”

Despite this scenario, I drive right past him and ignore the subliminal significance, which I suppose he, “the angelic bum,” is trying to convey. Pretending that his stare is not afflicting me. I order my preferred latte anyway since I realize that after my cup of joe, this overcompensation will no longer be an issue. I go about my long day fulfilled and boosted, until, of course, I need another cup.

Elvis Presley once said, “Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t goin’ away.”

Thanks to Elvis and the homeless man from Starbucks, I fathom that I am in some sort of predicament. I will be ready to talk about it as soon as I have my coffee.


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