The Starving Activist is the sometimes-home for words. AR Neal (that’s me) finds them, cultivates them, and leaves them here. Enjoy.

That's Not Coffee - That's Horror in a Pouch

I was very young when I had my first taste of coffee: my Nana (my father's mother, who was my caregiver as a child in the days before ordinary folk sent their kids to places like daycare ... I don't think there was a daycare or preschool in my town when I was younger than school age, but that's another story for another day) had a cup each morning and it always smelled so wonderful! She had dainty cups and saucers, which she felt were the only proper container for this divine beverage. Such feeling seems most appropriate, particularly for someone of her generation (she was born in 1898). I begged and begged, so wanting to be initiated into her private club of womanhood. Eventually, she poured me about a half-inch of coffee and filled the rest with evaporated milk. I was thrilled.Unfortunately, she soon put away her percolator in favor of Sanka, but it mattered not. I still wanted in. Looking back, I can't figure out why she made the switch, since she seemed to be quite finicky about her coffee. I can hear her saying That's not coffee about other so-called brews, yet the same strict rules did not apply to the instant stuff that didn't taste right when mixed with evaporated milk. I still tried to get some, just so I could drink out of the dainty cups and saucers like her.She had Crossed Over long before the likes of Starbucks, but I wonder what she would think of it. I suspect she might have been impressed early on, but the last time I had a cuppa from there, I heard her voice coming out of my mouth: That's not coffee! It was thin and not very rich, even though it smelled good. I was sad and missed my Nana's old school brew, before Sanka.I wonder what she would think of the Keurig that has a prominent place on my kitchen counter. I am a particular fan of the Caribou and still use evaporated milk when I make my morning cup. I imagine Nana would complain about the price, even though if she did the math would find it less than a dollar a serving (especially when I buy it on special). I doubt she would be satisfied by that logic and would most likely proclaim it 'not coffee'.Have I mentioned before that I visit the clearance rack when I go to the grocery? Every trip, it's a given that I will make my way to the back of the store and paw through the rack (or two, on good days) of breads, cakes, cereals, candies, kitchen utensils, vitamins, and occasionally coffee. I found decaf coffee in pouches the last time I was there: I hadn't paid much attention to these teabag wanna-be coffees before, but the price was too good to leave on the rack. I bought a box and the next morning, could not wait to drape its string and tag across my favorite mug (did I mention my former glass mug showed up with a crack in it and had to go to Mug Heaven not too long ago? Sad but true. Fortunately, that UPS mug I had tucked away safely in the back of the cabinet was awaiting its day in the sun and has become my new favorite).I cheated. I used the Keurig to heat the water, which meant right there that Nana would most likely proclaim it 'not coffee' because I had not boiled water on the stovetop (which of course should be gas-powered and lit with a match).It smelled quite good, which was encouraging. I plopped in my evaporated milk and sipped.It was okay. A bit thin, perhaps, but not as bad as the Starbucks cup I'd last had. It wasn't as rich as the Keurig Caribou, so I had overdone it on the milk and made a mental note to lighten up next time.But in the end, I imagined the look of disdain on my Nana's face as she proclaimed the fake teabag coffee as not-coffee. As I wrapped the string around my spoon and squeezed out the liquid (just like I do with my real teabags), I smiled at the horror of it all. Coffee in a teabag? Preposterous. Cheap from the clearance rack, but preposterous nonetheless. Sorry, Nana, but you knew I had been a fan of horror since before I could spell it. And you loved me anyway.What weird daily 'conveniences' do you think your ancestors would cringe at or make fun of?

My Life, Or - Living La Vida Oblong

Scribe's Cave Picture Prompt: Darkness Falls on Anytown