Starbucks expresses our ounce options in the faux elegance of Short, Tall, Grande, Venti Hot, Venti Cold and Trenta Cold cup sizes. Wawa is much more utilitarian if no less direct with 12, 16, 20, 24.
How easy it is to lean on this support system when confronted with an endless day of meetings, intense job responsibilities, family obligations and the day-to-day activities that keep our stomachs and bank accounts full.
The support of coffee.
To be sure, countless studies have confirmed the direct health benefits of these daily deliveries (while noting that too much, as with any of life’s potential excesses, turns negative). According to The New York Times, “in recent years, many studies have pointed to coffee’s health benefits, suggesting coffee may protect against Type 2 diabetes, reduce overall deaths and perhaps even help protect against dementia. Other studies have suggested coffee may reduce the risks of certain cancers, including colon cancer. The benefits are generally attributed to coffee’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.”
Yet equally countless is the research forcefully arguing that we humans must get enough sleep, the lack of which directly causes a kaleidoscope of mental and physical problems. Short-term “benefits” have long played against the effects of long-term consequences. Perhaps it’s driving too fast so as not to be late, thus tempting the increasingly likely fate of a crippling accident. Or the immediate pleasures of saturated fat that inevitably lead to problems of heart and weight. Or putting off a doctor’s visit that for the moment delays having to confront this or that increasingly serious health issue. Or… Or… Or.
Our resourceful and resource-full society enables access to practically anything at all hours of the day and night. A midnight run through the Starbucks drive-thru? A quick pick-me-up at the 24/7 Wawa? Let alone the Internet’s infinity or the ubiquitous diner’s attractions unlimited by the confines of clocks. How easy.
But the brain and body, despite their remarkable resilience, still need palpable rest, despite our society’s best efforts to the contrary. Why not hold off responding to that last possible email or text message, or setting the alarm 15 minutes later or heading up to the pillows 15 minutes earlier? No question, we can choose our cup sizes and feel that rush of short-term support, yet that bit of extra dream time ultimately offers far more consequential rewards.