It's a typical morning. I'm awake, in pajamas, sipping coffee, soaking up a new day. Husband is scrambling eggs. The girls are hiding tiny dinosaurs in the creases of our couch. I'm at my computer.
While checking email, a message pops up from a good friend.
I have a question, she says.
Is it okay for me to put breastmilk in my coffee? she types.
I smile. Tap keys. Write something. Ha. You are so funny!
I'm serious, she says. We're out of milk and I won't drink my coffee black. It's either breastmilk or peppermint ice cream.
Oh, I write, feeling squirmy. I guess it would probably be okay?
It does have all those nutrients, she rationalizes in the little box on my screen.
A while later, I get another message from my friend. It was delicious! she proclaims. You should try it some time!
The truth: I will not try it. Ever. I'm a skim and Truvia creature. But at this little morning exchange, I chuckle and think. It is but a tiny shard of conversation, but makes me realize how different we really are, my friend and me. When I was nursing my girls, I would often test the temperature of the milk on my inner wrist, but then swiftly wipe it away. And Purell. When my babies spit up all over me, I would recoil subtly, and like a trooper mom, just clean it up. I was intent on my little ones getting those magical motherly nutrients, but me? No thank you.
Because I tend to over-think things, this got me thinking about something: Why are some of us squeamish and some of us not? I most definitely fall in the former category - If a waiter puts a whole fish on my plate and I see those beady little black eyes? I hide my own eyes. If someone on television is sampling some sort of insect, I feel nauseous. If there is a lot of blood and guts and gore, I literally or metaphorically run.
Unflappable, I'm not. Brave? Hardly.
Another thing. (Because for me there's always another thing.) What does how we take our coffee (or tea) say about us? Is someone who drinks her coffee black a different existential creature than someone who drinks her coffee light and sweet? I think so. Is someone who doesn't drink coffee at all a different existential creature than someone who sips it (through a straw) throughout the day? Oui oui. Is someone who drinks her coffee with breastmilk a different existential creature than someone who giggles and gags at the very thought? Indeed... Ah, the foundations of an exceedingly important human theory on coffee and personality...
I imagine a scene. I walk into my local Starbucks. I wait in line. At the register, I lock eyes with the barista in the green cap. He asks his usual question. What will I be having today. I ponder this, furrow my brow. "A tall half-caf Breastmilk Latte please." His eyes grow wide. His smile comes, lips quivering with confusion. He doesn't know what to say.
Would you ever sample a breastmilk latte? Are you squeamish or no? Do you think squeamishness is a matter of nature or nurture, essence or experience? How do you take your coffee (or tea)? Do you think how we take our coffee is connected in some inscrutable way to who we are as people?