‘Let’s go for a coffee.’
‘I’m going for a coffee.’
I say this a lot. It doesn’t just mean ‘let’s go for a caffeinated beverage.’ It means so much more.
It means, ‘hi, I want to spend some time with you.’
It means, ‘I miss you.’
It means, ‘I heard you’ve got gossip.’
It means, ‘are you ok?’
Coffee is fun, laughter, tears, catching up. It can turn into lunch, or cocktails, or stay just as coffee. For half an hour, or three, it doesn’t matter.
Coffee with my sister is time just for us. It involves takeaway coffee, homemade coffee muffs (trademark pending), errands without kids and uninterrupted conversation.
Coffee with friends or extended family means non-stop chat, food and needing the whole afternoon free. Depending on the family it means needing the evening free too and the coffee will probably be a Baileys Latte or Espresso Martini.
Coffee on my own connects me to walks through the wood near my parents’ house, into our local town. Tall overhanging trees, crazy paving underfoot. Stopping to watch squirrels, which the kid in me never fails to be excited about. Taking my time with no urgency to be anywhere or meet anyone.
Getting to the coffee shop and being able to sit and read, or people watch, or daydream, and the drink in front of me stops me looking like a weirdo. It’s magic.
Going for coffee also puts me in mind of the amazingly clever lady who helped me when I wasn’t quite sure how to help myself. When I knew where I wanted to be but felt so stuck I was scared I’d never get there. It means talking things through and gaining awareness of how my mind is working for and against me. It’s now synonymous with me looking after myself, quieting the pressures I put on my little brain, and regaining focus.
Maybe that’s why, in all the places I’ve been recently, I’ve sought out the local café. Not because I feel bad, but because it’s something that makes me feel good. A little reset button and energy booster rolled into one.
It gives me a reason to search out the little place, the quirky place, the busy place.
It will never be just a chai latte. It’s peace and wellbeing and much needed selfishness. It just happens to come in a glass, with a dash of cinnamon.