The things I carry

Several years ago one of my “online friends” Caleb Gardner created a campaign called Save the Cups in which he encouraged folks to use commuter cups and avoid using paper cups when they buy coffee (or other beverages). I don’t know if it was his sincerity about this cause, or if he touched something already brewing inside of me, but around that time I bought a commuter cup and started carrying it everywhere I went.

coffee commuterI bought this cup during a time that I wasn’t actually drinking coffee! As part of a “health-kick” I was on at the time I had switched to green tea. But during the next winter I started sneaking a coffee here and there, and by winter’s end I was back to daily consumption. I’ve decided not to fight it — coffee’s good mostly outweighs its bad.

Yes, the fact that I carry a cup with me is a sign of my addiction — not so much a physical addiction, I don’t get the headaches or anything — but more of a psychological addiction. As a child of the ’80s I’m a coffee achiever. Who doesn’t love that Glennary Glen Ross line, “Coffee is for closers”? When I’m drinking it I’m more focused, more on top of things and I have more of a get things done, bottom-line attitude. This is more than just a mind trick — caffeine and other stimulants really do activate the pre-frontal cortex, increase attention and focus, and help the brain to the kind of tasks that help us to edit, converge or complete things.

The scent of the coffee, the jolt of caffeine, the bitterness that lingers on my tongue — these are all signals to me that tell me it’s time to focus and get stuff done. If I reflect on my professional career, it’s clear that coffee has been present, in generous quantities, for most of my significant achievements.

The commuter cup entered my life on a whim, but its presence and persistence has revealed the importance it has for me. For better or worse, my coffee mug and the focus it brings me is something I carry with me.

What things do you carry?


  1. As a tea enthusiast, I have to have a chat with the author with you and explain how tea is giving me fuel for my soul. I am using a tea glass (made by Libre Tea) that is smart version of the mug.

    I have to check out the LinkedIn meme, “things I carry”… 🙂

    • We have a team member here who would be on the tea team too. She carries a similar mug with her tea leaves floating around the bottom of it.

      I’m a green tea fan myself… But when I’m drinking it I’m cheating on my first love; coffee.

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