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My Coffee Obsession: A Semester’s Oral History

The following is piece of humorous commentary, and is meant purely for entertainment. Rakbo does not endorse the overindulgence in coffee and caffeine, and reminds its readers to research the effects of such overindulgence before drinking more than recommended amounts of coffee.

College was the place where I, along with many that I knew, began a passionate love affair with coffee.

Perhaps you’ve already given yourself over to the caffeine Siren. Perhaps you’ve merely heard it calling from that Starbucks a short walk from your dorm. Yet from the latte lovers to those who are still keeping coffee at bay, no one can deny that coffee is as much a part of any college experience as football on Saturdays.

So journey with me, dear reader, as I share with you my own experience of love found… and love lost… with coffee…

Photo courtesy of Pixabay
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Beginning of the Semester (Weeks 1-3)

It’s the beginning of a semester, and I have a twinkle in my eye.

I’m ready to conquer the world, strutting around campus like I own the place. And coffee? At this point, I could take it or leave it. It’s a nice treat in the mornings if I have a little extra time on my way to class, but it’s nothing special.

I laugh heartily at the people who seem to depend on it.

“Fools,” I say to myself, “I’ll never be like them…”

Moving Towards Midterms (Weeks 4-6)

The weather is beginning to change, and the bliss I began the semester with has now shifted into preparation for my first round of tests and essays.

I’ve just discovered the Pumpkin Spiced Latte, and am walking through campus in my most comfortable sweater—feeling like the star of some 90s romantic comedy starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.

The warmth of my coffee cup becomes a comfort and a joy in my morning walks. Slowly, but surely, its wonderful pick-me-up carves a place in my morning routine.

“Midterms, schmidterms,” I think to myself, warmed by those glorious sips of espresso. “I’ve been going to classes, and I’ll be ready and prepared for whatever comes my way.”

Gif courtesy of The Daily Meal
Gif courtesy of The Daily Meal

Midterms (Weeks 7-9)

What have I done?

I was so sure that I could do just waltz right into midterms without any stress. Yet here I sit at 1:00am in the library, studying for an exam worth 50% of my grade while simultaneously writing a philosophy paper.

Whenever I begin to waver, though, my new friend, coffee, gives me a little jolt and a reminder that I have a job to do.

Those sweet, sugary lattes have been replaced by cups of lukewarm library café coffee, the comfort of a campus walk replaced by a cold table alone in an empty, windowless library. But each wondrous sip still tastes just as sweet, and each cup of coffee is a shot in the arm to keep me going.

The next day I ace my exam, and hand in a paper sure to get an A.

I am invincible.

I get a cup of coffee to celebrate.

Gif courtesy of Tumblr
Gif courtesy of Tumblr

The Final Approach… (Weeks 10-14)

Finals loom large in the distance, but I’ve learned my lesson from midterms. I’ll take better notes, sit up front in every class, and do all of the assigned reading on time.

I purchase my evening cup of coffee, my third of the day, to prep for my late night reading and think to myself, “Am I drinking too much coffee?”

As I sip I hear a soft voice coming from the cup whisper, “No.”

I believe the disembodied voice.

I forget to add cream or sugar and just drink it straight.

Finals (Week 15)

I’ve read through every book, every note, every resource I have… and I have nothing left from a semester of exhaustive study.

The existential philosophy has started bleeding together with my business class, and I wonder if all these philosophers would have been happier if they had all just diversified their investment portfolios.

But, like the trusted friend it is, there’s coffee, staring up at me.

“I believe in you, Hank,” my coffee says to me. “Just a bit more to go.”

And in that moment our eyes meet. I feel my second wind.

“Thanks coffee,” I say with a smile, taking a few sips. “I knew I could count on you.” 

Someone sitting nearby asks me who I’m talking to. I ignore them and keep studying.

The Aftermath 

The campus quiets as students begin heading home for the holidays. Before I get on my bus, I look around for coffee. But all the shops on campus are closed for the holidays.

“I won’t get on the bus without it,” I think to myself. “We’ve been through too much together.”

“Hank…” a soft voice says from inside one of my bags.

I reach into my backpack and find an empty Starbucks cup.

“Coffee?” I whisper.

“You’ve got to get on that bus.” coffee says.

“Not without you,” I say. “I need you.” 

“You don’t need me,” coffee chuckles. “You had the power in you the whole time… But for now we’ve got to go our separate ways.”

“Don’t say that!”

“It’s true! If you don’t quit me, or at least cut down on your daily intake, you’ll develop all sorts of long term health complications… and I don’t want our our story to end that way.”

We look at each, staring almost as intensely as everyone on the bus is staring at the strange man having a conversation with a coffee cup.

“Goodbye, coffee,” I say.

“Goodbye, Hank,” coffee says.

Gif courtesy of Imgur
Gif courtesy of Imgur

I throw away the cup. I get on the bus, wiping tears from my eyes. No one sits next to me for some reason.

As the bus drives away I close my eyes, caffeine headache beginning to set in, I smile and think, “We’ll always have… the library…”

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Hank Greene

Hank Greene is an award-winning playwright, comedy writer, and freelance writer/editor living in Chicago, Illinois. In addition to his writing and editing work, Hank serves as the Resident Playwright at the Bloomington Playwrights Project, the Literary Manager at the Adirondack Theatre Festival, and as a Co-Founder and Owner of the acclaimed sketch comedy trio Vienna Juvenile. He is a proud alumnus of Indiana University where he graduated with degrees in Sociology and History.


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