Well… I guess it’s time to weigh-in on the coffee cup controversy…

Several years ago, I stopped by the local Waffle House—Riverside Drive in Macon, Georgia—and ordered my usual. The waitress turned toward the chef—standing no more than ten feet from her—and yelled ‘Mark. Pull one sirloin. Drop a hash brown. Order. Steak and eggs, medium, scrambled, with wheat toast.” Having  ceremoniously announced my cholesterol-laden meal to the entire restaurant, she made her way to the closest carafe. She poured the coffee, grabbed a couple of individual-sized containers of cream, and set the beverage elements in front of me. I hoisted the sugar container…and was just about to add my two teaspoons… when I saw it. I slowly set the sugar back down and waited to catch the waitress’ eye. When I finally garnered her attention, she made her way to my station at the counter. “Whatcha need, Honey?” she politely asked. I lifted the cup, turned it toward her and responded, “There’s lipstick on the rim of this cup.” And there was. Somewhere in the course of this little mug’s life, someone with red lipstick had sipped from the very spot where I was about to drink. I’m not sure if it missed the wash cycle or if the wash cycle just wasn’t strong enough to eradicate Pomegranate Passion or Racy Red or Sizzling Cherry Bomb or whatever it was. But it was there… on my mug… the imprint of someone else’s kisser. The waitress stared at it for a moment—lost in the wonder of how it came to be—and then looked at me and asked, “Do you want another cup, or do you want me to just wipe it off?” Uhhhh, Honey wanted another cup…

I like coffee. I typically drink one cup in the morning and one cup midafternoon. The caffeine wakes me in the morning and keeps me alert midday. The taste is soothing, and I enjoy the conversations that often accompany those imbibing moments. I love people. I know the baristas and the waitresses at the coffee shops and restaurants I frequent. If I live in an area long enough, I’ll eventually know their life stories, some of their family members and more than likely participate in the celebration or grief of a life event. That’s the way I share faith in a coffee shop. But personally, I don’t care what the cup looks like… as long it doesn’t have someone else’s lipstick on it…

— Jim