Thursday, April 14, 2011


Most mornings, there is enough time between when I wake up and when I have to leave for work that I can linger over two or three cups of coffee.  As I do so, I do a bit of light reading to get my mind working, and I plot out my day as best as I can.  It is quite enjoyable, really, a taste of the leisurely life of the mind that is often extolled as being the great compensation for the relatively low social status to which those who teach are consigned.

Some mornings, though, require me to leave the house in short order; my teaching schedule does bring me in in at an hour close to the business hours of "the real world" once or twice a week.  When it does, I cannot linger over the cups of coffee.  I am often awake well into the night, and although I tend to do well in the mornings, there is a certain amount of sleep that is obligatory.  And I need the coffee in any event.

On those mornings, as on this morning, I pour a generous amount of bitter black brew into a thermos that I have had since my first year studying English at college.  It goes with me on the subway, sealed against the crowd and the weather and the smells--o! the smells!  When I get to my classroom, enjoying the brief quiet before my students start to arrive, I open it again and pour it from thermos to cup and thence into me.

Something about the taste of coffee from a stainless-steel bottle soothes.

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