All grown up and . . .

When I was a child I was told that becoming an adult not only brought added responsibilities, but also certain privileges such as drinking coffee and alcohol. I concede that the responsibilities part is true, but I’m here to tell you that the privilege part is not reality, at least in my world.

Let’s start with caffeine. Brewing coffee always smelled enticing, but tasted nasty. You’d have thought someone had just given me something disgusting, like liver.

When visiting friends and relatives who offered coffee and I said, “No, thank you,” nothing else was offered. As a young bride I complained to my husband that I would have appreciated being offered an alternative. He asked, “Why didn’t you ask for something else?

“Isn’t that rude? If they had something else, they would have offered it.”

“Many coffee drinkers just don’t think of other options.”

On future visits my husband would intercede for me. When I was offered coffee and declined he would say, “She’d like a soda or water.” The alternative was usually water.

As the years passed I learned to drink tea saturated with lemon. Pepsi was nectar from the gods. One day the doctor told me that to control my blood pressure I should stop drinking tea and soda. Thinking that two Pepsis and two cups of lemony tea a day was not much, I quit cold turkey. Have you ever seen a nice woman turn into the Wicked Witch of the West? After about three weeks, I was me again, unhappy but no longer evil.

Twice I attempted to make coffee, once for each husband. Both endeavors were met with, “Don’t ever touch my coffee pot again!”

Over the years I kept a 4-cup pot and a small coffee container in the freezer for my mother’s visits. A few years ago on a trip to Minnesota my friend and I stopped for gas. She said, “Let’s get a latte. It doesn’t taste like coffee.” I agreed and liked it. We bought another on the return trip.

Sometime later Ohio friends were visiting for a few days. Trying to be a good host, I asked another friend to buy some fresh coffee for them. On the way to the airport I remembered that they used creamer. I stopped at the store to buy some. The dairy case display was overwhelming. I called my daughter for advice. She suggested some options. Selecting one, I approached the checkout and then remembered something else. Frantically calling her back, I said, “I’m on my way to the airport. Won’t it spoil?” She then directed me to the coffee aisle for a non-dairy selection.

After her arrival my friend made coffee and asked if I wanted some. Recalling the two lattes I’d enjoyed in Minnesota I said, “Yes, if you can flavor it.” She did. I added more flavor and enjoyed it. The next day she asked, “Would you some more coffee in your cream?” I did. She then showed me how to brew my own coffee.

I enjoyed my flavored coffee for a couple years until a few months ago. After my big vertigo incident, my doctor advised me that part of the trouble was dehydration and to stop drinking caffeine beverages. She explained that caffeine is a diuretic and had contributed to my dehydration. Is that why coffee drinkers drink so much coffee?

Alcoholic beverages had their own story. The taste was pleasant as long the alcohol was in a mixed drink. My problem was that I was a cheap – and short – date. One drink made me happy, a second sent me to sleepy-by-land. So much for a fun night on the town.

Beer had its own peculiar reaction. One beer sends me running to the little girls’ room, praying to the porcelain god. A co-worker advised me, “Sharon, you are supposed to get drunk first, then throw up.”

So, here I am again, a little girl who can’t drink coffee or alcohol. I know it’s better for my health, but gosh. . . .

© by Sharon D. Dillon, February 5, 2015

Sharon D. Dillon,, “Laugh your way to peace, love and joy

Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists

Author of one of 14 stories in The Book of Mom: Reflections of Motherhood with Love, Hope and Faith, published by Available in print and e-format at


18 thoughts on “All grown up and . . .

  1. As one who has the same reaction to coffee I totally relate to your tale. I’ve never made the switch and stick stubbornly to tea and generally bring my own. As to alcohol it is the same. Scotch or nothing. Well, maybe some wine. Well, done. Funny and true and easy to relate to.

    1. Thank you, Elizabeth. It’s good to know that I’m not the only one. I suspect that others have the same issue but never made the connection. I can have a glass of wine at a party or just relaxing at home, but just one.

  2. Love it Sharon! I cannot drink alcohol either. Half a glass of wine is all I can handle. I like it, but it makes me soooooo tired. Beer is GROSS.

    1. Thank you, Dorothy, and thank you for getting me started down the coffee path. Wonder why other people can drink that stuff and we can’t. Could it be we descend from Puritan stock?

  3. I enjoyed this little trip through your history as a non-adult-beverage drinker….but I must say I can’t live without my morning cuppa Joe. I only drink decaf nowadays, but the placebo effect wakes me up. Well, written, fun story!

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