Coffee is teacher crack. I’m about to make 30 cups and line them up on the back of my desk. I don’t only double-fist cups of coffee, I “quad” them. This is a technique I saw once in college, where the individual rehydrating himself carried four cups, two in the left hand, two in the right hand, drinking from the front two while the liquid from the back ones cascaded into the front. It works nicely for coffee.
Some days, I wish I could come into school with a flask, but even if I could, there’s no point. I don’t really drink. If I filled it with coffee, I’d just get mocked. It’s not really gangsta or effective.
I can’t be a drug addict. I know crack’s bad for you; I don’t even like the plumber crack I endure as a result of tall students busting a sag. So, since drugs and alcohol aren’t a possibility, coffee’s the only thing left.
Coffee’s a drug, I guess. When we were little, my sister discovered that in her health program. Caffeine is a drug. She loved to help educate others, “My mom’s a drug addict!” she’d scream in all public places. Mom loves coffee, too.
I get half my calories from coffee. That’s no joke. I used to drink it black when I worked in restaurants, but now, I enjoy a little cream and agave to provide that “Calgon, take me a way,” moment. The American Medical Association, the New England Journal of Medicine, or some publication with a ton of doctors, at any rate, recently said I could drink as much coffee as I could physically consume. That’s good, because I drink way too much. I’ve got a fair-trade farmer at the ready with a beeper. On a normal day, I drink a lot, but lately all this testing, grading, benchmarking, and evaluating is making me drink even more. When I’m actually teaching, I’m never at my desk–I’m moving around, so I don’t drink as much. When I’m dealing data and numbers and piles, I’ve started to vacuum it in. I feel like a kamakaze pilot on his last mission, “BONZAIIIIIII” Another cup of coffee hits the deck. I sure hope Mayor Bloomberg doesn’t walk in and take away the big mug. That’d be a disaster.
I’m not here to talk about testing, I’m here to reflect upon whether I have a problem–an addiction even–or whether, in fact, my coffee consumption might be beneficial to my students. Some days I drink so much coffee that I can actually teach two weeks of lessons in fifteen minutes, giving the test before the activity is complete. That’s speed. Efficiency. The mark of a good educator. Other days I hear my inner voice, and know I should slow down a bit. Pause. Breathe. Drink more water or something. Then I rationalize that water is in coffee and I make…just…one….more…cup. Tomorrow I’ll have less. I promise.
That’s the mark of an addict.
“It’s good coffee though,” I think. An addict would have that three-dollar bag cut down with the cheap stuff. Reuse the grinds. I never do that. I spring for the best. An addict would steal, rob, and lie to get his coffee. I don’t do that either–I just walk over to the Keurig station I’ve set up in my room and push the button. Simple.
I think coffee might be good–it’s the only time we see each other as faculty. We see each other so seldom sometimes that I introduced myself to someone I actually worked with at a conference. If we didn’t have museum tags on our doors, “Mrs. So and So,” we probably wouldn’t even know some of the exhibits in the rooms.
Coffee makes people talk. They pilgrimage to the Keurig and make coffee while I teach. I like when people do this–I like to be social and see my coworkers. Coffee helps me do that. I don’t mind keeping the place stocked up for that reason. I put coffee under my “friendship and happiness budget.” Sometimes I wish I could sit down and actually have coffee and talk, but I can’t because there are 25 kids behind me who say otherwise about me concentrating on one coherent thought at a time.
Today I’m on cup two. That’s not enough. I’ll make one for the drive, and restock the Keurig for the TGIF caffeine extravaganza. If you work with me, come in. There’s cream in the fridge, and agave and sugar on the table. Even some honey for you teetotalers. Because when you have “coffee” with someone, you don’t always have to drink coffee. But I always do–seems a waste to do otherwise. Smile and say hi on your way out. It’s probably the only time we’ll get to converse. I want to remember your name.