Black coffee = Clear liquid. Huh?

The nurse gave me the instructions and ended the call with this, “No food or drink after midnight, after which you can have clear liquids until 5:45 a.m., clear liquids include water, apple juice, black coffee …”.

I don’t recall what she said after black coffee. My brain got stuck on black coffee = clear liquid. That’s a new one.

I woke up at 3 a.m. and drank a large glass of water. I woke again at 5 a.m. Thoughts of black coffee buzzed around in my head. I asked myself is today the day I drink it black? With 45 minutes to go, I thought why not? Better black than none at all. And even though I hardly think black coffee, at least the coffee I make,  qualifies as a clear liquid, on this morning I am game.

I scooped six tablespoons of beans into the coffee grinder, poured the water into my four-cup coffee maker, and went on with the busyness of the morning. After feeding the dogs, I returned too soon. The pot wasn’t full. I went to carefully choose my coffee cup, expecting to drink from George Costanza cup from 1993, when I realized I forgot to run the dishwasher last night, narrowing my cup choices. I chose the Dansk cup, which I purchased in Portland, ME in 2000; the first place I called home, after living with my Grandma for five months, where I lived when I left my first husband.

Dansk coffee cup, by Karen Craven
Dansk coffee cup purchased 2000, Portland, Maine, by Karen Craven

I love this cup.

Black coffee isn’t half bad. I prefer my two teaspoons of sugar in the raw, and a splash of milk, but I am playing by today’s rules and those additives are not included in the pre-op coffee version of clear liquid.

Those who know me well, know how much coffee is part of my morning routine. I used to smoke. Just like milk and sugar in my coffee, my cigarettes loved red wine and coffee. I was the justice of the peace, jubilantly joining and blessing the unions of cigarettes and coffee and cigarettes and red wine. Kiss the bride, kiss the bride. I realize now my cigarettes were hardly monogamous, but they were happy couples all right. I remember impatiently sitting at Billy’s Grill, a diner on the South Side on Southwest Highway, and waiting for my coffee just so I could light up. That behavior is evidence that every relationship can get tense.

Cigarettes were happiest when in the company of coffee or red wine, but that wasn’t enough for me and I finally divorced them in 2008. In the settlement, I got the coffee grinder, which I received as a shower gift for my first “real” marriage. This trusty Kitchen Aid has the power to make or break any morning. By pressing it ten seconds every morning, it yields a bounty of grounds that make the best clear liquid ever.

Kitchen Aid | Old faithful, by Karen Craven
Kitchen Aid Coffee Grinder | Old faithful, by Karen Craven

I’m feeling pretty hopeful this morning. I’m glad I rolled with the black coffee. I finished my cup before 5:45 a.m. Growing up, we used to visit my the Wolfe’s cottage in Michiana Shores. On the refrigerator, there was a poster, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. Similarly, I thought of this early this morning. “When life gives you clear liquids, drink them”.

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