So I know it's unreasonable, even sociopathic. But as March 2014 is Caffeine Awareness Month, now seems like a really good time to share my feelings on the subject of 'to-go-coffee' culture, or more specifically, the people (by which I mean tosspots) who partake in it.
I mean, what's the deal with 'to-go coffee' anyway? Is anybody really so busy micro-managing the shit out of everybody else that they can't SIT THE FUCK DOWN at the table like any other self-respecting human being? Huh? Or, is rushing around the place clutching a 'signature' Triple Grande Quad Shot Espresso Macchiato With Ten Extra Shots of Salted Caramel JIZZ Foam seen as proof of one's success? A way of communicating to others that you are too important, too indispensable, to sit still?
It's not that I don't appreciate the need for caffeine. It's just that as with most things in life, there's a time, and there's a place.
Take the other day. There I was, strolling around the place with my three-year-old daughter, when I stepped into the path of a hurrying businessman who looked exactly like Big out of Sex and The City (you know the type gals, likes to engage in hilarious willy-bashing contests with workplace rivals, but is also sensitive and likes art, etc.) This ubersexual was taking his first power-gulp of a steaming hot 'coffee-to-go' (Venti Ten Pumps Hot n' Crunchy Caramel Drizzle With A Head of Foammmm THIS big), when he suddenly had to manoeuvre out of my way. The coffee-to-go missed its target, scalding his cheek.
"Awwww!" he shouted. "Watch where you're going!"
Afterwards, after apologising, I was fuming. OK, I know I should have been more vigilant. But on the other hand, I wasn't the one on an accelerated fucking schedule, talking into my smartphone about 'performativity', whilst also attempting to transport boiling liquid from one place to another, when there were kids about, and human flesh.
Like a cockmonkey.
But, I suppose my real issue with 'to-go' coffee culture is not a concern over the health and safety implications of carrying hot fluids around the place. Neither do I really care if you want to demonstrate your extreme productivity and fast sexy lifestyle with a 'to-go coffee' accessory. (Even though it makes you look like a jerk-off. Just saying). My real beef is with the fact that 'to-go coffee' culture - and our addiction to caffeine in general - is symptomatic of a society hell-bent on promoting the idea that faster is always better. A society that has created speed dating, one-minute bedtime stories, guides to achieving an orgasm within thirty seconds, and now Speed Yoga! Grrr. And yeah, I know I'm a bit of a slow coach and a hippie and I prefer tea (which according to a survey by coffee company Nespresso is not the drink of choice for "high achievers"). But I'm also saying it because everyone I know is knackered, because we now have ninety minutes less sleep than we had a decade ago, because according to Carl Honore in his book In Praise of Slow, fatigue contributed to disasters like Chernobyl, Exxon Valdez, Union Carbide, Three Mile Island, and the space shuttle Challenger. And, well, because we obviously need to slow the fuck down - not speed up.
Or, as my favourite super-tramp and prolific Welsh poet and writer W H Davies put it in this extract from his poem 'Leisure':
What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
Now, I'll go stick the kettle on. And we'll have some tea. And a nice chocolate digestive. OK?