Monday, April 8, 2013

Metaphorical Java

I love putting cream or milk into a cup of coffee. This probably sounds strange, but it's true.

Coffee is a revered beverage in our society. We drink it more than water, we guzzle cups and cups and want more. It fuels us. It keeps us going, energizes us, makes us happy and alert. It also twists our stomach if you have too much. It gives us headaches and migraines and makes us feel generally unpleasant. The drink that provides our good mood can corrupt it just as quickly.

Does anyone know the exact measurement of "one cup of coffee?" Is it a mug? What if you have a large mug? What about the sizes at the coffee shop? 12 or 16 or 20 ounces, which is a single cup? Or is it less of a perfect measurement and more of a subjective 'idea'. A cup of coffee is perhaps not strict in its definition but allows for a wide range of actual sizes, a personal measurement, one cup of coffee to you is different than one cup of coffee to me. And what about ice coffee? Does it matter how much ice is in it? If you just have cold coffee with no ice, is it still ice coffee? What the fuck am I talking about? Let's get back to the point.

Why do I love putting cream in the coffee? Because of the conflict. The battle between black and white. Before the cream, the coffee lies black and bitter. Dark and unchanging. Then the cream comes, dumping in. The perfect amount will pulse up to the surface and swirl around. Black and white coming together into a tan color, promising deliciousness. The tan billows up into the black, taking over. That's why I enjoy putting cream into coffee. That little explosion of color in the cup.

Equilibrium-Change-New Equilibrium. It's the form of the narrative at its most basic. At first there is the equilibrium, the status quo, before the story actually begins, the coffee before the cream. Then, change. Something happens. Something destabilizes the narrative, occurs in the character's life, upsets the normal way of things. The cream bursts into the blackness of the coffee, a tiny swirl of violence in a cup. The change is dealt with in some way and the story once again returns to an equilibrium, but one that is different than before, one that's been changed. The new equilibrium. Frodo was just sitting in the Shire not doing much until the Ring came along. The Change. He went on an adventure and eventually returned to the Shire, but everything was different. He couldn't live in the Shire so he went to live with the elves. That is the new equilibrium. In a narrative, things have to change, characters have to change and nothing is the same after The Change. The black coffee fights the cream but in the end the two converge, becoming different but settling into a new equilibrium, a new color.

Pretty lame, right? Don't listen to me, I'm just some strange dude that likes putting cream in coffee.

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