Tuesday, December 15, 2009

'Cause waking up is hard to do

In my first non-introductory post, I would like to consider an object valuable to me: my thermos. Caffeine is a key component of the words-words-wordsy lifestyle. I first started to drink coffee sometime in high school, probably as a result of secondhand caffeine poisoning from the fumes percolating around my parents’ house. I still well remember the afternoon—walking back to high school for tech week as the snow gently, scenically, whitely drifted down around me and my cup of steaming darkness—when I realized I’d been drinking coffee every day for a few weeks. Not so much the social drinker I'd always believed myself to be, I was a real live addict. Oops.

Several caffeine-obsessed bosses later (“Umm, R—, would you like coffee if I step out to get some?” “Oh, I was praying you’d ask! Here, get a cup on me!”), I have comfortably settled in at the edge of the black expanse of coffee addiction ("No, really, just a tiny, tiny bit of milk!"). And last winter I came upon a miraculous invention: the perfect thermos.

I am pretty picky when it comes to accoutrements. This is probably why last week marks the first time I bought an umbrella without being under imminent threat of monsoon. It may also be why I have historically been lacking other such necessary components of a (lady) human existence as a scarf, a nice wallet, and a purse. All the thermoses I’d ever seen in 22 years fell into the category of Avoid. Sure, it’d be nice to carry around my coffee and not kill all those coffee-cup trees, but if I’d have to look at the blasted object every day, it had better be a nice one. And one brilliant morning, blearily walking to 826 for tutoring, I saw the perfect one—this sleek shiny creature.

Now my coffee addiction had found its perfect container. The thermos was great. It didn’t leak and it kept the coffee hot, or the iced coffee cold. It provided an interesting conversation piece, as well as endless fascination for the little kids at the tutoring center. It also pretty quickly earned back its keep—some of my favorite coffee places, most notably Gimme! Coffee in Williamsburg and SoHo, will give you a discount (35 cents!) if you bring in your own container. And even if there were the occasional head-scratchers (Dear Starbucks, Why did you pour my drink into a paper cup to make it, then pour it out into my thermos? Love, Me), on the whole, life was good.

So imagine my disappointment when I discovered that my thermos was broken. A portion of the insulation somehow chipped off, which meant my darling had sprung a leak! And, worse luck, once I hied it to Gorilla to get a new one, it turned out they’d discontinued them. Oh, the horror!

Last week, again walking to tutoring, I contemplated getting a maple latte. Nah, I thought; I’m pretty full from lunch. I don’t really need one…and then my eye was drawn across the street to the glorious display of new shiny thermoses. Needless to say, I picked out a new one right away. Turns out they even give you a free drink with it, rendering the total cost $11 or so. Sweet.

As someone who’s a bit ambivalent about consumerism (man, I really love me my pile of books, but do I really need an iphone? more new clothes? a hairdryer? a winter coat?), I am similarly ambivalent to report that the Return of the Thermos more than made my day.


  1. I'd like an iced venti maple lapsang-souchong latte, please. With an extra shot of subject-verb pudding--here, put it in my iThermos.