00020: Coffee? Really?

My Favorite “Coffee” Mug

You know how strange and awkward is to have someone say, “let’s meet for a cup of coffee,” meet and then tell them you don’t drink coffee? Trust me, it is awkward.

The last time it happened, well, it was before the pandemic, but when it happened and I met with the other person, who I was unofficially interviewing for a directing gig, the person asked, “Where is your coffee?” ‘I don’t drink coffee,” I answered. “Then, why did we meet here? We could have gone somewhere else.” He replied, almost appalled or offended, I couldn’t tell and I still can’t. Oh, well! Life goes on!

As an immigrant, I’ve learned to tune in with American costumes, well, not at all them because some of them are plain strange, unnecessary, or, let’s be honest here, racist. So, knowing that the most common way to meet people in a non-threatening manner is “over a cup of java,” I have become accustomed to inviting or accepting people’s invitations for a “cup of joe,” even though I do not desire it, or need it in order to survive.

For a lot of Americans, drinking coffee is a need, just like the need to drink water. Coffee drinkers seem to “require” coffee in order to function. Otherwise, there is no way they can carry on with life.I think it is all a result of the great psychological capitalist American machine. Because from a very young age, children are told that coffee is a necessity in order to perform better and achieve goals, and ultimately to staying alive.

There is a cartoon, for example, where GOOFY (a Disney character) wakes up, looking tired, walking so slow that he actually puts you to sleep. His eyes are red, his “hair” is undone, his clothes are unkept, and his energy is almost non-existence. The music that accompanies his attitude is also slow and inharmonious. Very, very slowly, Goofy walks from his bedroom to the kitchen, where coffee is already being made. He pours himself a cup of joe, and sips it. In an instant everything changes. The music is loud, bright, and energetic. Goofy’s body reacts as if it just got a thunder jolt, and he himself is so happy and hyperactive that he is able to make his bed, shower, put on a suit, and clean the house in less than 10 seconds. So yes, I believe it is all psychological manipulation.

Coffee for most Americans is such a “necessity” that I have friends and co-workers who say to me, “Don’t talk to me until I have my coffee.” And I’m sure you have seen this tired old joke on many TV shows, T-shirts, memes, and even coffee cups.

When I used to go to work at an actual job site, I would arrived at my office early in the morning and if I didn’t see my boss in his office, I knew I would found him in the break room, getting himself a cup of coffee. In college campuses, I used to see students walking and talking on the phone saying, “Oh, my God! I need to get me my Frappuccino or I will literally die.” But they never did. Die, that is, which is always very disappointing because I’ve always expect the best from people, especially students.

The last time I took my dogs to the dog park I saw a group of people that looked like they were modeling for a GAP commercial. I mean, they all almost look exactly the same, same clothes, same hairstyles, and same attitude. But they were just a group of family and friends, walking their dogs and drinking coffee. And to be honest, the whole scene was very surreal. They really looked like they were straight our of a very yuppie commercial.

What called my attention was that from the very young kid (about 13 yrs old) to the oldest person, every single member of that group was carrying, on their left hand, their cup of coffee. I knew it was coffee because one of them said, “You know, you’re right! This is the best coffee ever” to which everyone else agree in their own way. What stood out to me from their conversation was the comment made by someone else in the group. “Oh, my God! I do not know what I would do if I didn’t have coffee in the mornings. I don’t think I could function. I don’t think I could live.” And once again, everyone agree in their own way.

And with that I continued walking with my dogs, giggling because at that moment I realized that such a group of people were the epitome of what the United States is all about: turning people into addicts, making them believe that what isn’t necessary it is actually essential in order to function, to survive, to staying alive. I mean, Starbucks, for example, doesn’t serve coffee, it serves dessert. And their “coffee” is full of sugar, which is addictive, and thus Starbucks is a very successful “coffee” business.

I know that what I’m saying is heresy to most coffee drinker. I also know some of you coffee drinkers are going to come after me. It’s almost inevitable. But really people, you don’t need coffee to function. What you need is water.

Now, let’s talk about tea. #carlosmanuelspeaksthetruth

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