I know it sounds stupid, and I know you're really surprised that you're about to read something stupid on this blog (a little bit of sarcasm for your Friday morning, folks), but when people ask me what my passions are, coffee is high on my list.
It's one of my most favorite things in the world. I can be found at almost any time of the day or night with a coffee mug stuck to my snout.
I’m that dumbass that strangers point out, the one who walks around with a travel mug full of steaming coffee in the 105-degree, humidity-filled, sticky weather. (I can never be completely sure on those hot days whether it’s coffee I’m sipping from my mug or if it’s my own face sweat that’s dribbled into the little slot at the top. But I’m always too damned hot to care.)
Hey, I’ve got an addictive personality, my peeps. It’s better than heroine, right? At least that’s what I tell the hubs when he complains about the cost of K-cups and tries to buy me some knockoff version from Big Lots that may or may not fit into my machine. Tightwad.
My grams doesn't drink coffeee, but she did find a small, perfectly functioning 4-cup pot at a garage sale several years ago, and my dad and I have been bringing coffee and creamer to keep our supply stocked for that long. MOST people (ahem, older sister Wanda) appreciate what we do because everyone else in our family, besides Grams and Mom, sucks coffee down as if it's a lifesaving spring in the middle of the desert...or a lifesaving well of vodka in the middle of a dry county...or a lifesaving plethora of skanks in the middle of a slow night in a college bar. (Hey, I write what I know, and I've been that skank. Several times. You're welc, random dudes.)
Choose an analogy, peeps. What I'm trying to say is, the system works for the family.
Well, it used to work.
I called Grams about two days before Christmas a couple of years ago to check on our supply. I was pretty sure that the last time I'd visited, I'd gone the extra mile and stocked the coffee shelf with my and my younger sister's favorite kind, Folger's Vanilla Biscotti. It's the expensive stuff, but I was feeling rich that day...not for any particular reason, mind you. I was just randomly feeling rich that day, so I bought the good coffee (along with a rhinestone-encrusted dog collar, even though I don’t have a dog nor was I going through an emo phase).
But when Grams answered and I asked her to check to make sure we had coffee/creamer left, she hesitated.
"What?" I asked uneasily.
She laughed nervously. "Well, I threw it all away."
I gasped. I know my grandmother well, and she doesn't mince words. When she says she threw it all away...
I tried to laugh myself, just to show Grams that I still loved her even though I could feel myself start to shake—not with anger, mind you, but with preeminent coffee withdrawal. My laugh came out as more of a bitter bark. "Ha.Ha.Ha. You don't mean that you threw away the coffee pot, even?"
Again, that nervous little laugh from Grams. In fact, our conversation could have been described as a variety of anxious and bitter, disbelieving laughter. "Yeah. I threw it all away after you and Wanda got into that fight last year."
Okay. I will explain, but first I must say that Wanda and I don't believe the disposal of our beloved coffee had anything to do with our knock-down drag-out fight, even though it was one of the worst fights we've ever been in.
We think it has more to do with Grams's tendency to throw things away. She loves throwing shit away.
One time I caught her standing over the trash can, a pair of little blue toddler shoes in each hand. "Wait, Grams! Don't throw those away...those are my kid's shoes!" I called, running to grab them before they hit the bottom of the trash can. Luckily I moved quickly, because as I got there, I realized something else:
"Actually, Grams, that is my kid," I sighed, rolling my eyes around the room as my sisters and brothers chuckled in an Oh that silly Grams kind of way while grabbing their own kids protectively.
In any case, it's a good thing Grams didn't raise us. We fought over everything, so using her throw-it-away method, there would have been nothing left in the house by the time we'd hit the ages of 2 and 4. I talked briefly a couple of weeks ago about one particularly nast-ay fight in high school, when Mom let me borrow Wanda’s black skirt because I had nothing to wear to school. Wanda was pissed, and she got me back by rolling down and locking all of the windows on the way to school, thereby ruining my perfectly coiffed hair on picture day sophomore year.
If Grams had been there to throw that skirt away, would it have taught us to stop fighting over clothes? No. It would have taught us how to live in a state of perpetual nakedness, which is a skill I picked up in college, anyway. I guess it wouldn't have done me any harm to learn it a few years earlier. Who knows?
I texted Wanda just after I got off the phone with Grams that day a couple of years ago. "She threw away the damned coffee pot because of our fight last year. Good job, asshole."
I immediately got one back: "You started it."
Wasn't how I remembered it, but I will tell you the premise so you can see how crazy we are. And when I say "we," I mean "my sister."
It was all because I’d asked my sister if we could make the coffee (which I had bought and stocked, I must add) half decaff on account of my pregnancy.
Oh, you were expecting more? Nope. That was it. Told you my sister’s an asshole.
And I do realize that there are 2 sides to every story and that her side might be quite different than mine, so when she starts a blog and decides to tell it, I’ll let you guys know. In the meantime, I think I’ve summed it up quite accurately.
Her husband gave his version several months later. "It was bad. Like a lot of You fcking bitch! and Fck you, you stupid whore! flying around. I wanted to jump in, but—"
"—you were scared," I finished for him.
Much of what happened during the fight is lost on me due to the seething, boiling rage that temporarily blinded me, but I do remember that thanks to my pregnancy hormones, I started crying and I decided to milk it. Mom and Grams felt awful and rushed to hold and comfort me, prompting me to do it up even harder.
As I racked my body with fake-ish sobs, I looked over their shoulders and stuck my tongue out at my older sister.
“She’s sticking her tongue out out me!” my sister yelled, sounding like a crazy person. “Over your shoulders...Shay’s sticking her tongue out at me!”
Mom and Grams pulled away and looked at me, only to witness a bright red, splotchy, pitifully sad face. “My God, Wanda,” Grams muttered toward my sister. “You’re 34 years old. Grow up.”
When Grams and Mom turned to hold me again, I stuck my tongue out at my sister one more time.
We laugh about it now—as long as we keep it light and don't go into the details of the fight. In fact, the year Grams threw away the pot, we joined forces. I texted Wanda this back:
"It's cool. I told her I'll just bring wine and drink that all day instead."
Five seconds later, Wanda’s reply: "Awesome idea, dude. Me, too."
And me: "If she thinks a coffee fight is bad, wait ‘til she witnesses a drunken wine fight."
Wanda: "Haha, seriously!"
I could almost hear what was going on in Grams's head that year when Wanda and I showed up on Christmas, our wine bottles clinking in their bags as we walked around the room giving hugs: Those two bitches are siding against me after I had to pull them apart by the hair last year over a pot of half and half?? Oh, where did I go wrong?
One word, Grams: Mom.
You raised the one who raised us, so basically it's all your fault. I'd like to point out that I'm branching out now—I usually only blame my parents for the stupid things I do. Now Grams gets a little of the blame, offering Mom and Dad some much-needed respite.
You're welc, parents. But enjoy it, because I’m pretty sure I’ll do something wrong as soon as I walk out the door to start my day, and I’ll need one of you to shoulder the responsibility again, mmkay?