The Perfect Cup of Coffee

A cup of  coffee.

Have you ever had one of those days when you wake up and there is no coffee and when you go to the store to buy some, the car breaks down?

You wait around for what seems like hours and finally the tow truck shows up and you get towed to the repair shop still without that morning cup of Joe.

In the corner of the waiting room you see that unwashed, dust covered coffee maker half full of overcooked Folgers steaming away.

It is just like heaven.

As the warmth sifts into your body and the caffeine starts to lift you up, you realize that the fresh ground French roast you were hoping for never tasted so good.

I remember going weeks at a time, in the Army, with no hot food. We tried to make the “C” Ration (yes, I am that old) instant coffee palatable with all imaginable variances of instant creamers, sugars or whatever else we could think of, to no avail.

It sucked.

Plain white coffee cup with black steaming coffee in it.

But at the very first opportunity to milk the giant silver bullet in the mess hall for its glorious black goo we felt like we were drinking the nectar of the gods.

So, what makes coffee into the perfect cup?

Is it not the lack?

Is it not the struggle?

Is it not that we sit in our houses so pampered with mail order organic perfection that it gets old?

Are we not so bored with chasing the fantasy perfect cup that we forget what makes it really perfect?

Isn’t this the same lesson we need to absorb in order to understand the rest of our daily life?


Are we not so smothered in goods and services, twenty-four seven, that we have gotten bored with it?

After the newness wears off of anything, we get bored and look elsewhere.

Maybe the newness has worn off of newness.

Kahlil Gabrain once stated that, “Your houses are tombs, built by the dead for the living.” I think I understand what he was getting at.

We tuck ourselves away behind locked doors with our period correct furniture and our imported coffee beans running through the world’s greatest coffee pot, always seeking something new to make our perfect even more perfect. But, as always, it remains empty, lifeless and stale.

In rising to the challenge of that cold frosty morning at the repair shop, the adversity overcome, the opposition conquered, we then find the perfect cup of coffee was hiding in a smelly waiting room the whole time.

It was even free.

This teaches us to look at the adversity in our life with new eyes.

Adversity, it seems, is that which gives flavor to our life.

It is the salt mixed with the sugar that brings perfection.

It is in our struggles that we triumph, not in our luxuries.

Even the best handcrafted micro-brew super special solid brass coffee maker in the world could not match that smelly overcooked Styrofoam cup. We would do better to focus on that.

My wife and I embraced minimalism about a year ago and have spent this time going through purge after purge of the non-essential crap that we had amassed in the last twenty-five years.

It is truly amazing just how much stuff you can accumulate.

Rustic table with two small glasses of coffee.

In reducing our belongings and only owning that which actually serves us, we have come to a much simpler way of living.

The more luxuries we rid ourselves of, the more the simple things mean to us.

It seems our possessions, actually posses us.

Life is more about actions than objects. Verbs instead of Nouns.

As we prepare ourselves to take on the mobile life of being full-time RVers, we are truly testing what is necessary in life and what is superfluous.

A shadow of a man in a spiral-type tunnel.

I must admit it is not for the faint of heart and add that because we have decided to embrace this lifestyle in no way means we are correct or better or superior in anyway. But we do have a much deeper understanding of what it means to be a life form, especially a life form that possesses reason.

We have learned that logic can better decide what things to spend money on than ego, and that the perfect cup of coffee depends entirely on the circumstances leading up to the first sip, not the price of the bean.

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