I like my coffee black. Not for purity’s sake. I’ve just never desired the additional accoutrements. Maybe that’s a good thing… In any case, I make my first cup as soon as I arrive at work. Twenty minutes later, it’s gone. And I’m ready for a second. This is a desire I fulfill with a heartbeat. But I don’t pour the second cup clear down my throat as if it’s my last days in the desert. No, this second cup I let linger. I sip it carefully and diligently. This second cup’s lifespan nearly triples the first. By the time I reach the lamented end it’s gone cold. But there’s a problem. It’s a sensory malfunction. There’s a coldness. The heat melts away and it returns to room temperature, but lord knows it doesn’t feel that way. By the end of the second cup that cold comes with the insinuation of ice. It’s not room temperature, it’s far below or at least it’s perceived far below. As time passes, that cold returns to where I feel it should be, and feels no different than the water that’s been at my desk for two hours. Why is this? Is it because I expect heat from my coffee. I expect a scalding reminiscent of Pompeii? And when I’m not satisfied by my expectation my mind takes a leap. It descends to the opposite end of the spectrum and creates a new reality of temperature.
If I were to dip a thermometer into that cold cup of coffee it would read the same as the old water but it will never feel the same. When expectations and reality do not match, we create a third option in our mind that never really existed. This is the basis of optical illusions and other such mind tricks. We leap to grand conclusions and we live in a hypothetical as a way to cope with the disappointments we face on a daily basis.
And that’s where we find my point. Coffee is a natively unimportant factor of our day to day. Destroyed from memory and time, we could go on without the existence of coffee. It’s a dependent, something we’ve learned to need. Utilizing it as a prime example of our own life narratives is easy because it causes little distress and it means nothing in the grand scheme. But that is the importance of cold coffee. As a metaphor it is essential to understanding and coping with the world around us.
I recently received news in a long list of news that did not match my desired outcome. At first it was disappointment and anger and the thought of what I should’ve done better. Now a few weeks have passed, and that hatred of my state and abilities has dwindled to a fart. It was there and it has passed, and we can forget it ever happened. Here’s the issue: Every time my coffee gets cold, I expect it to be hot. Every time I expect an opportunity to pay out and it doesn’t, I find depression. Life isn’t on either of those extremes. It’s hot and it’s cold, like that old Katy Perry song once went. Most of the time we live in the space between. But lean too far on either end of the spectrum and your emotions run wild.
Those extremes are the most important thing we have, as they allow the space between to feel like a lapse in time or a moment to wait. Without extremes we’re wet cardboard. With the extremes we’re every flame that ever burned. We’re the burst of energy that created the universe around us and defined our evolution. Extremes keep us alive. Extremes keep us honest. But there are times when one extreme can feel too much, and the opposite extreme can kill every drive we’ve ever had. All I want for you to realize is this: The cold coffee? That bitter ice-drink that was once so warm? It’ll return to a status quo. It’ll balance out. Everything does. Nothing burns forever and nothing freezes for life. Courage to continue passed the heat and passed the cold to find your equilibrium is the secret of all. And in any case, you should know that some people like their coffee with ice in it. For me, I’ll keep my black and hot as hell.