My Coffee Is Worth Every Cent: Reflections On Community In My Daily Life by Laurie Balles Simpson
Every morning I stop in to grab a cup of coffee at my local quick mart before heading to work. It’s become such a habit that even if I’ve had plenty of coffee at home, I still stop. I’ve considered how much money I pay for coffee vs. how much disposable income I have. I still do it. I’ve considered the time it takes vs. the driving time I have to get to work when I’m running late. I still do it.
Part of my routine at work is to empty the half-drank, now cold, cup of coffee into the lobby bathroom sink and toss the cup into the garbage. Just the other day, a coworker mentioned how the bathroom smelled like coffee and that someone is throwing their cups in the garbage. I admitted, “Yeah, that’s me.” I’ve been doing it since I started work there four years ago.
Self-reflection is clearly in my wheelhouse, but this made me reflect more. It’s been at least four years. Four years equals 52 weeks in a year which equals 208 weeks divided by... Oh wait, to be fair, it’s not seven days a week it’s more like six or five. So, for the last four years, I have stopped by my local quick mart, unnecessarily, for coffee, at least 1,040 times.
The fiscally responsible portion of my brain wants to add a dollar amount to that. But, it doesn’t matter to me because:
- I see Cheryl. Cheryl’s son and family are moving closer to her permanently, as they plan to welcome their second child soon.
- I see Michelle, the ever positive and smiling mother of a college student who drives 40 minutes to work, rain, sleet or snow, even though driving causes her great anxiety.
- Some days I see Marcus, whose humble confidence and challenged path have empowered him rather than beat him down, who proudly drives his new wheels to work each day.
- Then there’s Tom, whose quirky dad jokes and extended pauses in conversation make for an uncomfortable goodbye, but he’s real and he is Tom and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
- Sometimes I see Rick, who is fighting MS and has had to cut down his hours. He recently received word that he’ll receive some disability support so that he can continue to work and provide for his family at the same time.
These are my people. They are what inspire me to stop, no matter the rationale, to get that unnecessary cup of coffee 260 days a year.
Sure, the money spent after 1,040 stops is reasonably regrettable, but the value of these people’s part of my everyday life is immeasurable.
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