THE BLOG
09/24/2014 04:43 pm ET Updated Nov 24, 2014

To the People Who Don't Drink Coffee: How Do You Live?*

Cristina Lopez G

*Masquerading as a question for the people that don't drink it, is an ode to the beverage many of us would never want to live without.

Seriously though, how do you live? Since International Coffee Day is upon us, I thought I'd ask. The question comes from an honest place; merely a product of curiosity, not self-righteousness or arrogance. Not aimed at ridicule or boastfulness; a question birthed from anthropological wonder, if you will. I'm directing the question to you, the brave humans who are capable of turning down the most sensual of gifts, in whichever vessel presented to you, by saying some variation of: 'No thanks, I don't drink coffee.'

My curiosity for your lack of coffee-drinking habits doesn't come from an exclusive consumption of gourmet brews, those whose choreographed preparations alone could inspire sonnets. It isn't fueled by the wanderlust caused by reading about some of the faraway latitudes where red-blood coffee grains are grown; or by the self-righteousness that purchasing a drink that supports the creation of 14 million jobs in Latin America and the Caribbean could bring. The purpose of the question isn't to advocate for the health benefits that a daily humble cup of joe selflessly provides, or to evangelize and convert caffeine-skeptics.

And I'm no coffee snob. I snort loudly at self-denominated snobs of any kind -- it's a label people adopt not to signal their love of something but their feeling of superiority towards everything. It's because of that that I'm not above defending the intrinsic virtues of really bad coffee: what, but shared disgust for the brownish hot water some office managers try to pass off as java could bring disgruntled employees together as effectively in soulless office pantries? What would the victims of industrial coffee-makers unite against in college campuses?

I'm asking how you live, while acknowledging that the question only serves as an umbrella for a much longer interrogatory; a mere placeholder for all the queries I actually have: what scents dance around your kitchen when, in order to jump-start your day, you have to borrow some willpower? What do you pair your waits with? How do you buy some time before having to answer a hard question? To what handle, if it isn't that provided by a cup, do you hold on for dear life when battling loneliness at train stations, waiting rooms or office buildings? What adds legitimacy to the breaks you take at work to unplug your brain? How do you shorten funerals or stretch interesting conversations? What anchors your feet back down to reality after a nocturnal euphoria-propelled flight? What do you use to marinate thoughts that, after cooked with the right company, will become great conversations?

What do you use as bait to fool strangers into getting to know you better? What injects you with the necessary courage to face a blank page at 3 a.m.? At restaurants, how do you navigate in the uncomfortable limbo between a fantastic meal and the check? Every morning, what helps you digest the news and/or your morning toast? What do you spill on the pages of your favorite books, those boasting broken spines as evidence of your incessant reading? What was the taste in your mouth after writing the last word on that dissertation, thesis or paper? What had to swirl around your palate several times before you experienced that acquired taste is not a myth? What do you use as a metaphor when you try to rationalize heartbreaks by reminding yourself that there's a little bitterness in life's most sublime things?

If your response simply is 'tea', then I guess I have to ask all over again.