It’s relatively common when I walk inside someone’s house for an interview that they immediately offer me a cup of coffee.
Recently, it happened three times within the same week.
I certainly appreciate their hospitality, but my response is always, “Oh, no thank you, I’ve actually never even tried coffee in my life.”
Which almost always elicits a puzzled look, followed by their reply, “Seriously?!”
I’ve drunk plenty of liquids throughout my life, primarily milk (white and chocolate) and cold water. A&W root beer, Canada Dry ginger ale and Dr. Pepper are probably tops when it comes to soda (I live in eastern Wisconsin, where it’s soda, not pop). And strawberry shakes, well, who doesn’t like those? For the past few years I’ve become addicted to black raspberry Klarbrunn Vita Ice.
Believe it or not, I don’t drink alcohol, despite this being the land of beer, brats and cheese. And there’s one other thing I haven’t tried: coffee.
Not regular coffee (is that a thing?), not cappuccino, not espresso, not café latte, not café mocha or any of those other Italian-sounding words. In fact, I just looked them up online to make sure they indeed were types of coffee since, like Bigfoot, I’ve heard of their existence but never acquired proof myself.
During college, I worked a part-time job that frequently required filling and setting up large coffee urns. But even that couldn’t persuade me to sample a cup.
I’ve sauntered into Starbucks and other coffee establishments a few times over the years, always while tagging along with someone else. As long as I walked away with some sort of pastry item, I was happy. The urge for coffee never struck, no matter how stylish it appeared.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying coffee is useless. After all, plenty of people seem to drink it, so to each his own (or her own). Some have even turned it into an art form, creating visual masterpieces - I saw one that looked like a Mona Lisa painting - on that foam stuff atop a cup of coffee.
And for some reason I’ve got a couple of coffee-related pictures hanging in my kitchen.
One day, I may try coffee, if for no other reason than to say I gave it a try. But not today and probably not tomorrow, either.
So if I end up walking into your house and you want to be generous, I’ll gladly accept a nice cold glass of chocolate milk.
Benjamin Wideman covers eastern Wisconsin for The Country Today. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.