Hello depression, my old friend

Photo courtesy of the author

Have you ever met someone who has never been depressed? They tell you they don’t know what that feels like.

That doesn’t make sense to me.

Didn’t you have a childhood? Didn’t you go to school? Don’t you have a family?!

You’re telling me you’ve never been depressed? I don’t even know how to work with that. That’s just bragging, in my opinion.

Depression is my dearest friend. We go way back. S/he’s always there for me, in good times and bad; always got my back. I can count on s/him to be there when times are tough. Even now that I’m on anti-depressants, s/he’s still standing over in the corner waving.

Nowadays, it seems like everybody is on anti-depressants. If the majority of humanity is depressed, maybe that’s just our natural state? Maybe cavemen and women were depressed. (In fact, I’d bet on it!) Perhaps we’re all meant to be drifting around sluggishly, not feeling motivated to invade other parts of the world. We should just all be in it together instead of trying to fight it, you know? Embrace that dear, loyal friend.

If you don’t have depression, what have you got?

P.S. – Is it weird that I’m writing this from Hawaii?

Lost in Thought

Source: Wikimedia Commons

I took a personality test that asked me, “Do you tend to get lost in your thoughts when hiking in the woods?”

I was like, “Duh!” If you’re not lost in thought while lost in the woods, then what the hell are you doing? 

The nature of this question is freaking me out. It implies that there’s something unusual about me getting lost in my thoughts. This phenomenon apparently doesn’t happen to everyone.

So — what, then? You’re telling me you’ve just got a tranquil, empty mind? You have structured thoughts? You solve math equations? What! What am I missing!

Seriously — what is going on in everyone else’s mind that I’m not aware of? Because I’m always lost in thought — whether I’m driving, shopping, showering, taking care of my kid, pretending to listen while someone tells me about the dream they had last night, looking out the window at work, and so on. I thought that was the human experience! Am I alone in this?

I forget what I was just talking about. 

Here’s a list of words I never want to hear again:

COVID
Woke
Bespoke
Podcast
Pop-up

Also, while I just read the word “monkeypox” for the first time like two weeks ago, my first response upon reading it was, “NO! Just, no! Get the hell out of here with that shit!”

I’m not a conspiracy theorist. I believe COVID exists. I got all my shots, I wore a mask, I socially distanced. But I say no to monkeypox! Seriously. Cut it out, guys. I’m not interested in hearing about the next trend in diseases.

I forget what I was just talking about.

You know when else my mind wanders is when I’m trying to fall asleep at night, on a flight, riding a bicycle, in a boat, sitting around a conference table, and tying my shoe.

In fact, the only time I’m not lost in thought is when I’m headed to the cookie store. Then and only then do I have laser sharp focus on the task at hand.

Acquired Tastes

Coffee: a brilliant, blinding light from heaven

Source: Wikimedia Commons

They say coffee is an acquired taste. However, it is one which I instantly developed upon trying a sip from my dad’s mug at age seven. He took his coffee just as any child would – sweet and creamy.

From that moment onward, I was a coffee-seeking missile. I took it wherever I could get it – mixed into the homemade hot chocolate Dad ladled out for us in the blustery New England winters to the self-service carafe at my uncle’s wedding where I guzzled mug after mug in between contra dancing with my siblings and other guests on the dance floor.

Though cautioned that the beverage would stunt my growth, this turned out not to be a science-based statement. I enjoyed as much coffee as I could get my little hands on, while still achieving a perfectly reasonable height of 5’7”.

The single greatest discovery of my teens was the latte. Forget boys and weed – espresso was where it was at!

I recently attended a cupping event led by an expert who encouraged us not to view coffee simply as a commodity. After the event concluded, I was quick to share with him that I’d always cherished coffee. Like a god in a mug, I worshiped that warm, wafting beverage. I feel consistently grateful for every brewed coffee and iced latte that makes its way into my hands.

From the maple syrup/cinnamon/oat milk latte I used to get daily at Oslo, the coffee shop next to my apartment building in Midtown Manhattan, to the dirty iced chai at Gregorys (made with a shot of espresso added to the chai!), I have cherished each and every coffee experience. There are even a few excellent canned coffees, like La Columbe Triple Shot Draft Latte, Nitro Beverage Co. coconut cold brew, and Blue Bottle bold cold brew.

I’ve enjoyed iced vanilla lattes at Brühbar in Leipzig, Tahitian vanilla iced lattes sweetened with house made syrup at Aina Gourmet Market in Maui, to endless macchiatos in Rome, sipped while standing at the marble top bar in shop after shop. I’ve visited coffee farms in Costa Rica and Hawaii and hope to visit many more across the globe.

Coffee has been a stalwart companion my entire life. It enhances any enjoyable occasion and picks one up when one is down. It gives energy and focus to some. Not for me, unfortunately – I can drink it right before bed and still rest easy for eight hours. But I continue to enjoy the taste and the luxurious experience of coffee after all these years.

I wonder what’ll be next in my coffee adventures. Attending an Ethiopian coffee ceremony? Roasting and grinding my own beans? Has anyone tried making Kopi Luwak in collaboration with squirrels?