When I was 19 I was living in the Avenues of Salt Lake City. I was always broke, hungry, and worried about transportation to work. I lived with female goths and we spent a lot of time listening to music, drinking coffee, and smoking.
I like ridiculously spicy food, I’d eat things that I knew were going to be awful later. No one was making me do it and certainly no one was ever impressed. Or not in the positive way a young man would like to be seen. I knew that even then, most were just grossed out. But it wasn’t for shock value, I behaved the same when I was alone or whether I was with people. I’d often eat things that were too hot for me.
This led to me believing that bathrooms should install a support handle in front of toilets to lean on. I call this the oh-god-it-burns-bar.
On a particularly cash poor day I had no functioning vehicle and suddenly no job to get to. I had been out of coffee creamer or anything to pretend to be creamer for some time. On one afternoon, which I was then referring to as morning, I tapped a few drops of decidedly orange habenero chile sauce into my coffee. The first sip was good, each tasted worse and worse.
That didn’t stop me from continuing to spike my coffee with various hot sauces as a flavoring condiment much like the caramel and chocolate syrups used in a latte.
On one particular evening I was at Bill and Nadas with a friend drinking coffee. Bill and Nada’s is now gone but the nightlife of several decades all remember it. It had been a stop for many US presidents, complete with photos of some of them visiting with the original founders. Bill kept the place the same from 1946 until it finally closed after his death.
The friend I was with, was like most of my friends at the time, older than myself and gothic. She often spent the night at my apartment, but was like a sister to me, we were very close. She is now a bleach blonde Idaho resident, married with three kids, and dressing like a mother ten years older than she is. She also doesn’t talk to any of her old friends and I suspect she found god.
Anyhow, we were at Bill And Nada’s Cafe, where we frequently went for food before or after clubbing. I was drinking coffee with rye toast and pretending that the main reason we were there this evening wasn’t because I was trying to get the nerve to ask the waitress out. I didn’t need to ask for hot sauce, it was right there on each and every table. My friend’s mouth opened when I took the bottle and removed the cap and was obviously about to put it in my coffee. The waitress just then came to our table to ask us something but forgot what she was doing when she saw me do that. Her face made it obvious she didn’t approve.
“Why would you do that?” She couldn’t even look me in the eyes.
“I was abused as a child?” I queried for her approval.
My friend tried a sip, her nose wrinkled, and she said it was like drinking acid.
I said “death”.
“It’s like drinking death.”
The conversation changed or my memory just chose to forget anything else from that evening. I soon gave up the coffee hot sauce blend, dubbing it “nihilist’s coffee”. I never asked her out and months after she was hefting someone’s large baby around inside her petite frame, which blatantly meant she was already pregnant when I’d tried to ask her out.