Here’s a piece I wrote for the Western Morning News a few years back about how becoming a sleep-deprived parent made me completey dependent on coffee…
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a coffee snob, far from it. I couldn’t tell an Arabica from a Robusta (I looked up the main bean types on the previously-mentioned search engine). I don’t mind if it’s freeze-dried, freshly ground or filtered through an old sock. As long as it’s black and buckling under the weight of its own caffeine, then that’s fine with me.
I’m well aware that coffee is no real substitute for genuine sleep. But when a decent stretch of sleep isn’t on offer, due to my baby son teething / having a cold / being hungry / doing a secret experiment on how long sleep-deprived parents can last before losing the plot, coffee is a great plan B.
They know me at my local coffee shop. I’ve gone from that annoying Lycra-clad cyclist (with footwear that sounds like tap-shoes), to that annoying pram-pushing dad (mumbling about night feeds and Old MacDonald).
During my son’s sporadic daytime naps, I often sit in the café, nursing a latte and watching the other caffeine users arrive for their ‘fix’. The customers range from an eclectic selection of stressed parents through to what I’ve come to know as ‘normal’ people – although normal may be pushing it. The other day, one man insisted on being given a latte without milk. “But that’s an espresso, sir!” said the barista, as politely as she could. “No, no, no,” he replied, increasingly irate. “I want a latte without milk!” So that’s what he got. A lonely espresso shot at the bottom of a huge paper cup. Another man, quite brazenly, opened his duffle coat and poured an entire container of sugar into a pocket. I can only imagine that anyone having a hot drink at his house, would find the sugar a fluff-laden affair.
There’s no doubt that coffee makes people act oddly! Or is it that odd people drink a lot of coffee? I think that, in my sleep-deprived state, I fall into the latter category.
In fact, the only coffee I won’t touch is the coffee crème chocolate that always lingers when everyone has eaten their favourite soft centres at Christmas. I sometimes wonder how sleep deprived I’d need to be before considering a nibble on one of those?
Let’s hope I never find out.‘Tall, dark and strong’, Chris McGuire West Magazine – Western Morning News
For the full piece, click here.