My children are starting to ask The Question. My wife and I are struggling with The Answer. Our rapidly coming of age family is soon to confront The Big Issue.
The kids are beginning to hear certain things in the playground, and as parents we want them to get good information about life from us and not some 12 year-old twisted pervert-in-training behind the school.
Speaking as a fully-grown twisted pervert myself, I recently started to explain to my kids how, when you are an adult, you start to experience certain urges. These urges are perfectly normal and nothing to be ashamed of, I said, but then I started to flounder. I got all embarrassed and asked myself “How and when do you explain to your kids all the ins and outs of pre-marital coffee?”
Is there a book you can read to help introduce the subject? What age is appropriate for them to learn what they’ll need to know about flat-bottomed or cone shaped filters, for example?
I fret that they’ll grow up drinking it black and will give me that condescending look so common to the coffee snob elite, and teenagers.
There are so many questions that need answering. Which coffee house will they choose to frequent when they start skipping high school classes so they can hang out with their juvenile delinquent friends we’ll hate so much? Will peer pressure lead to experimentation with biscotti?
I can’t remember when I started ‘doing it’ as a teenager. All I remember is paying a quarter for a cup of coffee and whiling away entire afternoons at the Wayfarer restaurant in my home town. It was here I was introduced to coffee culture – the atmosphere, the intellectual banter, the trying to feel up the teen waitress who we’d heard would let you for a dollar, and so forth.
So I ask myself – will my kids become addicted to street level coffee like Tim Hortons, or will they go for the high end, the ‘party’ coffees like mochas and lattes which suck you into their expensive lifestyle?
What petty crimes will they commit to get their next fix? How many coins will they pilfer from my nightstand in order to satisfy their cravings? Will they experience the powerful, gasping surge of relief when recovering from massive hangovers by downing a cup of hot joe like us mature grown-ups do?
None of the parenting books I’ve read answer these questions adequately.
When, for example, do you tell them it is okay to fondle their beans? I got caught doing that in the car the other day, rapturously sniffing my fresh bag of coffee. I was on my tenth inhalation when I remembered the kids were in the back seats watching my eyes glaze over.
I explained to them that this behaviour was commonplace and nothing to be embarrassed about. Snorting lines of finely ground Central American powder would be a little extreme, but again it is just coffee and not something habit-forming or anything.
I further explained it is okay to have feelings for their favourite mug. It is also normal to see people waiting in line at their local dealer, cross-eyed with caffeine withdrawal headaches which could register on the Richter scale.
These poor, disheveled wretches have been without caffeine for over twelve excruciating hours and many are experiencing headaches on par with a good brain aneurysm. Hands shaking, they thrust their stainless steel mug at the barista behind the counter and fork over ridiculous amounts of money to experience the rush of injecting fresh, hot heroin EXCUSE ME! coffee into their bodies.
Or so I’ve been told.
Developing a healthy and natural curiosity about coffee is what we hope to achieve with our kids.
We try not to think about them getting in with the wrong crowd, like tea drinkers, so we’ll just do what we can and hope for the best.
Once they get past the awkward stage of talking to their parents about these important issues, maybe I’ll tell them about sex. Over a cup of coffee perhaps.