I start my day much like anyone else. Rub the sleep from my eyes, get in the shower, brush my teeth, make some coffee and pet the cat while checking email on my phone.
Sometimes I listen to the radio while doing all of the above. I'm a simple guy.
Miss any of those steps, however, and my day spirals out of control. No shower means my officemates have to smell me all day. If I don't pet the cat, she's a rambunctious little snot later in the afternoon. Gingivitis is the eventual result of not brushing, and I like my pearly whites. But coffee — it's become a bit of fanaticism.
I started drinking coffee in eighth grade, if I remember correctly. My dad put on a pot of Folger's each morning, and grew to like the stuff, weaning myself off of milk and sugar. By high school, when I had to wake up around 5 a.m. each morning, I was hooked. You could say it was mostly out of necessity, but largely, I just liked it.
Through college, coffee has followed me and greeted me each morning with a welcome hug and salutary pat on the back. All-nighters? No sweat.
Now, as a young professional, coffee has blossomed into a hobby as well. I've gotten the pleasure of roasting my own beans using an old popcorn machine. I labor over the craft of my morning coffee like an artisanal watchmaker, measuring ounces and recording temperature.
Ben, our reporter, doesn't partake in the blessed bean. He comes in each morning with a cold energy drink — a Rockstar — and intermittently sips on the sugar-laden stuff all day.
To me, that's unfathomable. I'm not a large fan of taurine, guarine, guarana, biafra, superisotropes or guinealeosotromes — or whatever the heck those things are made of. They have the palatability and nuance of a bag of cotton candy. But he sips it all day, sometimes two or three of them.
Some people are soda people. They take their caffeine with fizz each morning. I'd rather take a cheese grater to my tongue.
But our day is based around the same miracle compound. Shopkeepers wake before the sun to dispense caffeine to bleary-eyed denizens.
To them, and to you, fellow caffeine addict, I raise my mug.
On a side note, Wednesday is my last day at the Daily News. It's been an honor and privilege to be involved in your community and to spearhead your hometown newspaper.