Coffee With That Sandwich?

Photo by Marshall Astor

I used to wonder how older dudes could order hot coffee with their turkey sandwich. I suppose it was partly because I didn’t like coffee with my lunch. Coffee with breakfast, sure. And after dinner? Yeah, why not? But hot, black coffee with lunch? That’s kind of hardcore. A nice, cold, smoked turkey sandwich with crisp, slightly wet lettuce, all washed down with hot, bitter poison. Hardcore.

As I look around I have a lot of questions like that. How is it that older people appear to all end up having the same haircut and similar pants and shirts? Sometimes you see the subtle pieces of flare to accent the uniform, but if you’re not paying attention, you might miss their little bit of style creeping in. Surely they didn’t dress like that in their youth or even in their 30s. You see pictures of older people when they’re young and they look so fashionable—retro we might call it now—maybe even like something out of Westside Story or Grease. Then somewhere along the way they slowly morphed through some kind of cookie-cutter mold, all dressed alike, eating meals earlier and earlier, and ordering hot, black coffee with lunch.

Today I ate lunch a little later, had some water with it, but without thinking, right after, I poured a cup of black coffee. A nice cup of coffee sounded good, so I just did it. Then it hit me. I’m on my way. This is it. This is how it happens. It starts with an, “Eh, why not? A little coffee sounds good. Who cares if it’s not breakfast or after dinner?” Then you get tired of maintaining your old style or don’t want to bother with inventing a new one for yourself, so you just go to the store to buy some clothes and grab whatever to put on. And “whatever” happens to be something that seems reasonable for all of your leisurely life events, and more importantly, it’s reasonably priced. You walk out of the store looking like every other 70-year-old and you know what? A turkey sandwich sounds pretty good right about now…and what place also has fresh coffee?