Paris, France

July 14, 2019

Backup Coffee

Here in Paris, I'm again getting to spend some time with my partner, and one of the most fun aspects of this is noticing the little idiosyncracies that make us both who we are.

Like backup coffee.

We both start our days with a few cups of the glorious beverage. But our paths to getting it couldn't be more different.

See, I always. Always. Always. - have backup coffee in the house.

Right now, in my tiny apartment, there's the bag of coffee that's open, a second bag that's not open, a jar of instant coffee in the back of a cabinet, and about five tiny instant coffee packets that perpetually hang out in my suitcase.

I know. I sound like a hoarder.

My partner on the other hand, runs out of coffee all the time when we're living separately. They'll wake up, see that there's no coffee and think, "Oh NO!" Then they'll walk out the door, head to a cafe, and get a nice cup of joe.

It's not just coffee, either. I generally have backup salt, a backup baguette, backup curry paste - and you can bet your ass I have backup wine.

But over the weeks of laughter observing each other, we've started to unravel why.

Despite my appearance of being a hoarder, it's not really what happens. I actually use all that coffee, and just cycle new stuff into the back. All those backup everythings? They're really about depression. Living with severe, periodic depression means that I might just wake up one day with basically no energy.

On those days, I want to spend the little energy I do get on things that give me more energy - taking care of myself, connecting to things and people that really matter to me, and ordering pizza. I do not want to spend all of my day's allotment trying to navigate a busy grocery store while half asleep and missing a shoe.

My partner, on the other hand, is generally really pleased and recharged by getting out into the world and interacting with people. Being out of coffee is a convenient prompt to go to a cafe, connect with the people there, and who knows, maybe even just stay for the morning and invite a friend.

Little details like this - and what they hint at just past the surface - are one of my very favorite things about life. About travel. About everyday Tuesdays.

I wonder - what's a detail in your life that hints at something bigger?

Have a properly caffeinated week,

-Steven

p.s. The best thing I saw all week was excellent retrospective on Queen's all-time great Live Aid performance. Magnificent.

p.p.s. Wondering where the roundtable replies are? They're almost done! I'm hoping to send them out next week - I've just got a few dozen of you left to reply to, and the big summary to finish - but it's almost here!

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