Catholic as a Cup of Coffee

Buzzed on my third cup of coffee right now, (and considering draining the last of the now-lukewarm coffee left of this morning’s pot into my cup) I find my thoughts on the drink turning philosophic. Though it might be more accurate to say that my thoughts are zipping between writing a few words here,  compulsively refreshing facebook, and reading webcomics, which is not my style. Normally if I want to write about something, I just type away until I’m done, while today I feel like a squirrel with ADD.  I’m not sure if this flies in the face of the claim that caffeine gives you more focus or if it proves it because I CANFOCUSONEVERYTHINGALLATONCE… LIKE… SOME SUPERHERO THAT CAN FOCUS ON A LOT OF THINGS.  But it’s no surprise that coffee makes a person think, as coffee houses have been attributed as the birthplaces of new, often revolutionary ideas and philosophies since the bean was first introduced to that side of the Mediterranean.

The purpose of coffee houses as a place to hold intellectual discussion has changed little since their introduction, though now it’s college students writing theses and holding study groups and anthropology majors discussing last night’s NPR program from behind plastic lenses,  instead of bearded men smoking pipes discoursing over the new philosophies proposed by that Hobbes fellow.

Coffee found its true home in America, though, when it was brought over in the 1700s, and really became a symbol of independence from England by becoming the official substitute for tea during the Revolution.  When I think of coffee drinkers, I don’t think of Europeans sitting on outdoor patios sipping espresso in tiny cups.  I think of construction workers carrying thermoses, and hurried office workers in suits and ties.  I think of stained mugs growing cold on a messy desk and my drowsy, Californian grandmother in the morning, sitting on the porch in her robe, smoking a cigarette and drinking a cup of black liquid that, during the time of these memories, made me wrinkle my nose and wonder how a person could stand to sip something that so closely resembled mud in looks and in taste. 

But the thing I really wanted to say about coffee is that it’s the official (I hereby decree it) drink of Catholics. Yeah, yeah, it was discovered by Islamic monks.  But if it hadn’t been for dear Pope Clement VIII,  it may have been forever confined to the regions of North Africa due to over-zealous Christians who pronounced it “Satan’s drink” because of its connection to Islam.  After trying it himself, His Holiness announced the drink so delicious as to be “baptized” making coffee the only beverage I know to be an actual member of the Mystical Body of Christ.

At least, I think that was the point I was getting at.   It’s actually been about three hours since I started this post, and, excuse me but, I need another cup of coffee…

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