By Jon Eckert
This morning I had an epiphany. It was birthed by a string of hardly spectacular events which launched my level of understanding to new heights; an unsullied re-birth. Like waking up to soft sunlight, birds chirping, and the unmistakable smell of breakfast on a Saturday morning.
Let me tell you how I discovered that I hate to love coffee.
It all started when a co-worker of mine asked me to house-sit while she and her family went on vacation. The fact that I am house-sitting has little to do with coffee except that sleeping in a strange place would hinder me from making my own coffee in the morning. This meant that I had to pick up some caffeinated goodness on my way to work. Recently, Dunkin’ Donuts has been pretty high on my favorite coffee list, so I decided to patronize this fine establishment.
I was surprised to find that there were no lines at DD this morning. I thought to myself, “This is going to be a good day”. (I know, whether or not there is a line at the local coffee shop is a trivial way to determine a day’s value; but give me a break). I got a large coffee with cream and sugar, the usual. While navigating the two miles from Dunkin’ Donuts to work, somehow I managed to spill my large, scalding hot coffee two separate times. Among the items soaked by my oversized cup of liquid-drug are as follows:
- This week’s edition of TIME magazine
- One of my favorite polo shirts
- My iPod ear buds
- A tape adapter to plug my iPod into my car speakers
- A 600 page paperback book I’m reading
- My right hand
- And of course, my passenger seat
Being the laid back guy I am, I tried not to let any of this bother me too much. “This kind of thing could happen to anybody,” I thought to myself, skeptically. I parked and went to work.
Fast forward a few hours. Post-lunch. If you’ve ever lived in Greenville, you know summer days get hot, humid and disgustingly muggy. I was craving a cold coffee treat. I decided to ask around to see if anyone wanted anything, since I was making the trip. Not so much because I am nice. More so because if I were to return to work with coffee, thirty of my co-workers would jump out from behind their camel colored cubicle walls and rebuke me for having the audacity to get myself coffee without thinking of them. I grabbed some notebook paper and started taking orders.
Thanks to my incredibly steady hands and fantastic sense of balance, I made it from Starbucks to work without spilling a drop. As I approached the key-card accessible door at the rear entrance of where I work, I realized I may have a problem. I like to solve problems. This one didn’t seem too tough. I just had to stack a few cups of coffee on top of each other to free one hand so I could get my key-card. I was successful, at first. Then it happened. The very top cup of coffee (which just so happened to be the only hot coffee) began to topple. My mongoose-like reflexes enabled me to catch the cup, but not without suffering intense burns to the hand. This is why I hate to love coffee.
You know, it isn’t that hard to love things. Even though coffee burns me, stains my teeth, makes me jittery, and feeds my unhealthy addiction to caffeine, I love it. But it can be much harder to love people. There’s always going to be the possibility you’ll get “burned” by those you love. That’s a valid concern, we’re wired to self-defend, but love isn’t about you. Today, society is saturated with the philosophy that love is all about what I can gain. How good it will make me feel. Sorry, but that is far from reality. True love is selfless and sacrificial.