Before all this happened, I loved coffee. I thrived upon sitting in cafes, drinking a flat white, while writing my PhD, preparing lectures, and hanging out with friends. I had regular haunts in Adelaide, Bristol, and Cambridge, where I used to spend a couple of hours everyday with multiple cups of coffee. My geography of Adelaide hinges upon where cafes are located. In a very un-Adelaidean way, I am known to drive 30-40 minutes for a good cup of coffee on a Saturday morning.
When I was struggling to recover from the anaesthetic the day after surgery, my housemates in a very loving actually bought me a coffee from one such cafe. I took a couple of sips and felt more nauseous, if it were possible. I thought it best not to drink coffee for a while; well, for a couple of days. Friends coming to visit kept offering to bring me take away coffees, but the last thing I felt like drinking was coffee, so I declined their offers. I would rather drink a glass of water. I didn’t realise why until the Wednesday my brother came with a coffee in hand to take me to the rehabilitation hospital. I started drinking and I grasped what my problem was. I no longer loved drinking coffee. I didn’t mind the taste, I didn’t hate coffee. I could take it or leave it. I was now rather ambivalent, almost apathetic, towards drinking coffee.
This is rather shallow considering the trauma that caused this whole mess and considering what other friends are going through in other parts of the world. But telling friends that I was no longer drinking coffee was like telling them about a personal tragedy. Coffee among my friends tended to be a rather big thing and I knew they would struggle with disbelief. How could such a coffee fiend all of a sudden not like coffee? It is an unthinkable notion! True enough, friends had mixed reactions. Some complete unbelief, others vowing that they would need to help me rehabilitate my coffee drinking as soon as possible. I have been trying since being released from hospital; in fact, my own rehabilitation effort started on the way ‘home’ from rehab. I’ve been drinking coffee in the hope that just as nerve function to my legs has been gradually returning, so my taste for coffee may also return. But so far, there has only been minuscule signs of progress. Enjoying breakfast with my family at Cafe Troppo, my favourite cafe in Adelaide, I am prepared to say that the coffee went well with the food, but that’s about it. So it’s true. If you have heard the rumours, I have indeed lost my love for coffee.