All I do is drink…

…coffee that is! I swear I’ve imbibed more cups of coffee in three weeks than I normally drink in a year. Although this recent binge has left me immune to the effects of caffeine, I can’t think of a better way to spend an afternoon than drinking coffee in the shaded courtyard of my favorite coffee shop!

Since coming to Germany I’ve been amazed at how much I can live life in the moment. Sure, I need to stop by the bank, and I’d probably benefit from spending a bit of extra time on my thesis, but I’ve just been making room for coffee. Without a day’s exception, a few friends visit a certain coffee shop in the center of town. While the workers are pretentious (and mostly condescending) I love it that I can count on one hour every day where I just talk and process the day’s events. There’s no alcohol-induced laughter, no fake closeness with acquaintances, there’s no rushed chat between Val and Frost–it’s just real time.

This daily ritual is the most sane thing I’ve ever done–it’s literally making my whole day happier. I don’t think I’ll be able to return to my normal pace of life at Amherst. Really. No more grab-and-go meals at Val either. What’s all the rush and fuss worth if I don’t bother to slow down and enjoy myself anyway? I used to feel that I had accomplished more if I could force myself to sit in A-level and actually complete the mountains of reading that our professors constantly foist upon us–but I think that this constant influx of material, with no time to sift, process, or even apply it to my own life, makes me more robotic than anything else. Kafka always said that good writing was the most personal act you could ever complete. How am I supposed to write something meaningful (a paper or what have you) when I don’t even have a life of my own through which I can understand my reading? I just wish that Amherst meant a learning-filled life rather than a life learned-away. Maybe if I finish my work an hour early on Saturday night I’ll spend it drinking wine with friends rather than straightening my hair and running over to take vodka shots. I mean, with the whole binge drinking thing, isn’t that supposed to be our break from work? Why are we approaching it in the most efficient way possible (4 shots within 30 minutes to break away from sobriety asap)? Shouldn’t drinking, itself, be a pleasurable experience? Taking shots is like the reducing our means of enjoyment to the lowest common denominator. “Just make me wasted RIGHT NOW. That way I won’t have to try to have a good time, I’ll just be so twisted everything will seem like it’s funny.”

Italians don’t even know what drinking games are. Seriously. The idea that you might try to get drunk, rather than just take your time and enjoy the drink you have in front of you is completely foreign to them. Why would you spend your time playing beer pong when you could actually have a conversation with people? And via this conversation you might make meaningful connections with people? Not to mention, what happened to beer that tastes good? Beer doesn’t have to taste like a mixture of piss and water! It might be worth it to taste what you drink, rather than shotgun once in a while…

Looks like fun but it's not helping!

I’m not trying to hate on our drinking culture entirely, there is something wonderful about winning a beer-pong game, and I do get a rush and bond when I take a shot with people, but I just want a little more balance. These are supposed to be the best years of our life! Why are we trying to live them so quickly?! Why the race to the finish line, when THIS is supposed to be the peak of my existence?! Ahhhh existential crisis…

Sip your coffee, don’t chug!