I like coffee too much. I am dependent on it. I consider it a vice because I crave it and feel like life would just not be as pleasant without it. It’s part of my daily rituals: coffee in the morning, coffee in the afternoon. On special occasions, when my husband and I are on a date, one of my favorite treats, one of my favorite indulgences, is having a cup of coffee with dessert. It’s a small thing, but is the perfect end to a fine meal, and is the part that is most special to me. It’s the one thing about an evening meal that I don’t do in my normal life.
My husband doesn’t think coffee is a vice. He does not drink coffee, which may or may not be relevant. But he considers a vice to be something harmful. I’m sure he is right, and I’m sure coffee has some disadvantages or health risks, but I certainly wouldn’t call it a danger.
Feeling dependent on something though – even something harmless like coffee – makes it feel like a vice to me. Maybe I consider a vice to be something I do that feels like it is out of my control. Which really is probably more the definition of addiction: being powerless over a substance. Like I am with coffee.
I’ve tried switching to tea by it’s not hearty enough. It’s not thick enough. It’s not dark or potent enough. When I tried to switch to tea I ended up drinking a cup of tea and then drinking a cup of coffee. Or sometimes I’d drink multiple cups of tea, hoping the caffeine would take care of the coffee craving, but it didn’t. I could jitter across a room jacked up on the caffeine from a whole pot of tea, and I’d still want coffee. It’s not just the drug in it, it’s the everything: the flavor, the richness, the ritual, the strength. I am powerless over it. I succumb.
vice n. 1. an immoral or evil habit or practice… 5. a fault, defect, or shortcoming 6. a bad habit, as in a horse.
Note: Given these definitions, I agree with my husband: coffee is not a vice.
Photo credit: Colombian Coffee by McKay Savage
For the month of April, I will be publishing a 10-minute free write each day, initiated by a prompt from my prompt box. Minimal editing. No story. Just trying to get back into the writing habit. Thank you to Lori Carlson for the prompt “An unexpected vice.”