Tomorrow is my birthday.
I'll be 38 years old. Or, as my grandpa used to say, 29 again. He said that until he felt like he was too old to pull it off and started saying he was 39 again, but I guess I should wait until I'm 39 for the first time before I start claiming to be 39 again.
He died before I opened the DoubleShot, but the man loved to drink coffee. Or maybe he just loved coffee breaks. He took a lot of them between his piddling around with boat motors out in the garage and cleaning the carburetor on my car even if it just needed an oil change. He laid in his death bed for a few days after I competed in an adventure race in Arkansas on a team with three other weekend warriors. The race was called early and we were pulled off the course as we pedaled mountain bikes through freezing rain, shivering, fatigued, disoriented, staving off hypothermia. And the rains continued, pelting our tent as we slumbered a bit, and then we heard someone yelling for us to get out, and when we awoke and poked our heads outside, the river was rising out of its banks and flooding our camp. And then I listened to a message from my mom telling me that my grandpa was dying and I should come home. And that's when I drove home, sleep-deprived and cold and wet. And his death is what sparked me to quit my personal training business a week later and pursue a coffee business. And my grandpa would've loved to see the DoubleShot flourish as it has and to taste my coffee at regular intervals throughout his dawdling day.
The storms over the last few days have reminded me of some times past. Most of my experiences were had solo, and I don't talk about them much because they already happened and no one was there to share them. And so I let them recess to the back of my mind, or out altogether. But as I stood on my porch two nights ago while everyone was huddled in their basements, listening to the radio and expecting another Joplin or Moore or Stroud, the rain pelting down, wind blowing fiercely 50+ miles an hour through whipping treetops, lightning and thunder and ominous clouds boiling over, I thought of a trip I took to Missouri a dozen years ago. To something called the Ridge Runner Trail. As soon as I embarked, I realized this trail was overgrown and neglected and every 15 minutes I would stop and pick 20-or-so ticks off my sweaty legs, drowning in the humidity of a summer forest. I named a couple plants I encountered over and over, Razor Weed (which shredded my shins) and Bat Leaves (which had leaves hanging from its stalk that looked like sleeping bats). I hiked many miles alone, never seeing any other humans, found water in "Dry Creek," and then found myself dry and parched and panicky 6 miles from the last known water. I survived, drank my fill, and fell asleep in my bivvy. Unfortunately I camped in a wash and the thunderheads that rolled in that night brought tornadoes and took down 4-5 foot diameter trees across my trail and the wind and rain clawed at my tent all night while rivulets flowed beneath me and ticks crawled across my back.
So I was content to stand beneath the shelter of a roof and beside wind-breaking trees, sipping a Pinot Noir when this last storm blew in.
The storms of life are inevitable. And inconvenient. And they test our mettle. But it's better than being bored.
Ah, being bored. Boredom has its own privileges. The antonym of busy-ness. The time for relaxing on the porch with a cigar and picking up a magazine so I don't feel it. Or at least so I don't think about it. Think about anything but that. Read about how tobacco is grown and cigars are made, or become the omnipotent eye in Roosevelt's journey through the Amazon, or just sit and watch the weather change while I munch on crackers and slices of sweet Italian sausage and sip on Port and try to avoid talking to my drunk neighbor. Listen to the couple across the side street yell at each other. Watch the guy straight across the road frustratingly try to mow his lawn with a reel mower. Listen to the neighborhood cat screaming out for a mate. It's the onset of boredom that affords me the ability to take up these solitary pastimes, so I never actually get there. But in these times, my mind races.
I dream of things, some of which will probably never happen, some great ideas that are actually terrible upon retrospection. I dream of ways to improve my life. I think of things I'd like to spray paint on the wall. I think, "I really should put a shelf next to the condiment shelf so people don't set their cups by the handwash sink to put sugar in it." I think, "I sure wish people would quit putting sugar in their coffee."
And lately, I've been thinking about the rise in coffee prices that I'm sure you've all been reading about in the newspaper. I don't have to read about it in the newspaper because it directly affects me. We've sustained accelerating increases in the cost of coffee, paper cups and lids, fuel and freight, milk, and inflation has increased the cost of everything else over the past 7 years of business. And we've absorbed these cost increases over and over, relying on volume to keep us going. But I'm afraid the time has come for us to pass it on to our customers. So expect a small increase in the prices of some of our drinks soon.
It still astonishes me that I can buy a beer at the hamburger joint for $7.50, yet people balk at a $4 cup of coffee. I hope that attitude is changing, and I hope all of our attempts to buy and roast and sell you some of the best, most unique coffees in the world has contributed to that change.
I appreciate the patronage of everyone who supports the DoubleShot. We'll be around for a long time, through many more storms and broken windows and many, many 29th birthdays.
I'll be here tomorrow til 930a, and then I'm taking the rest of my birthday off.