Alison McQueen


The Dangers of Distraction

One of my first instincts upon waking is to make my way to the nearest source of caffeine. It’s an addiction which I have managed to control only so far. I allow myself three cups, max, over the course of the morning, and that’s it. On the upside, I make the best cup of coffee known to mankind. I use a really dark roasted Italian bean mix, beans freshly ground for each cup, hot milk, and none of that skimmed nonsense either, warmed cups, unrefined sugar. It’s an art, as anyone who’s really into their coffee will freely admit.

The well-worn coffee ritual leaves my mind free to roam the more complicated issues of whatever it is I’m writing. It’s like being off in another world, and I can only do it when I feel completely relaxed, as I did this morning. I was in deep trance, thinking about the landscape of the Irrawaddy Delta in Burma, coffee in hand. The next thing I knew, my feet were no longer in contact with the stairs. My elbow took most of the impact. It’s black and blue and hurts like hell. To add insult to injury, my morning coffee is all over the walls.