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[at-l] Bad Coffee was Cross posting

     OBVIOUSLY TRAIL RELATED: Somewhere in a shelter, far far away.....
     It's cold, damp, chilling to the bones type of weather. Your every 
     movement puffs warm air out and cold air back in, causing your neck to 
     stiffen, even weighing your chest down by its very cold mass. But your 
     stomach is empty and it's complaining. And your bladder is 
     complaining, too, but in that very different, very ominous fashion 
     that only bladders can do. Your sleeping bag fairly reeks with 
     Then somebody does it: they get up. They rise up from their cocoon and 
     in one smooth motion are dressed against the elements. (You secretly 
     vow to camp with this person and observe them every morning to figure 
     out how they do it.) They don't even need a potty run -- how'd they do 
     THAT? They just quietly commence the business of the day. You watch 
     now more fascinated with every moment, every movement. Water spills 
     into a pot with that metalic spashing that signals "Food!" and is put 
     on the stove which only sputters long enough to let you know it WAS 
     really ignited even though you never actually saw it being ministered 
     Plink, clink, small thuds and rattles of nalgene jars and plastic 
     zip-locs giving up their contents for the morning meal. Then it comes: 
     "Want some Coffee? You look kinda cold." And the immediate answer 
     "Sure! That'd be great." Whoa -- all that technique, and politeness, 
     too. Who is this hiker? And what will the coffee taste like? Gourmet, 
     probably. Probably something really hard to come by. The pressure in 
     your bladder ceases with the offer of coffee in bed, and you're 
     distracted for a second on how to show your gratitude to your bladder, 
     but just for a second.
     The hiker grabs your cup from the sideboard, fills it full of steaming 
     darkness, and walks it over. Your anticipation of the brew lightens 
     your whole day. Is THIS what hiking is all about? The simple pleasure 
     of a hot cup of joe on a bone-chilling morning? Wisdom so sublime! You 
     take the cup with eager hands and scootch into an upright position 
     against the back wall. Your nose registers something foul, but your 
     brain immediately dismisses the alarm as "bad signal," some maladroit 
     mix of arm and bag waifted on steaming coffee vapors. You lean your 
     nose over the cup while feeling its powerful heat burn the chill from 
     your fingers like a cupful of summer sun. You inhale deeply through 
     your nose, trying to suck that same heat into your whole face. But 
     your nose quickly recoils at the horrid, stale smell thick with dank, 
     sour decay. 
     Something smells horribly wrong! You move the cup up and out of the 
     way, madly shifting your legs to poof a bag-borne breeze paste your 
     anxious nose. No good. No smell at all. Oh No! In horror, you bring 
     the hot cup back down to your nose and confirm the worst: the stank 
     you smell is the cup you love. And it's bad, it's as bad as the time 
     you ran JV cross-country without socks, and your mother woke you at 
     two in the morning to put your shoes outside and soak your feet in 
     Epsom Salts. Distilled decay. Pervasive, with a lasting aftertaste 
     that runs right up and fills your sinuses. 
     But it's hot! You take a deep sip in desperation and hope that it 
     tastes better than it smells. SOMETHING must make sense here, or your 
     world will shatter. Well, it doesn't taste worse than it smells -- you 
     take another, deeper. You finish the cup in four swift, scalding, 
     burning, stinking gulps, and finish with a throat-clearing 
     "Ahhhhhhhh!" that conveys more satisfaction than you'd wished. The 
     polite hiker turns to you. "Gee, that was fast!" Then the dread 
     question comes: "Would you like another?"
     And here's the horror. It's cold; you're numbed; coffee's "free." You 
     can feel the warmth of the liquid pushing out the cold from your core, 
     the caffiene kick-starting your heart. Your bladder calls once again, 
     and you know now that exiting your cocoon is unavoidable. You have to 
     get up, you're gonna be colder, but the thought of then having to 
     start your own stove, breakfast, your LIFE without another cup is 
     overwhelming. Bad taste and all, the coffee still coffee, and your 
     body is responding.
     The other hiker waits through the pause in the conversation for your 
     answer. You look away, look around, stammer a confusion at the morning 
     which you really don't feel. You're stalling, searching for an answer, 
     and you hope he doesn't see through your act. But the hiker IS waiting 
     for an answer, and you ARE facing a dilemma. How do you say "No" to 
     free warm caffienated coffee? How awful must it taste -- How bad the 
     aftertaste -- for it to be better to do without? If it tastes this bad 
     -- and you know it's going to leave an aftertaste that will disgust 
     you all day -- can it be good for your spirits to consume this?
     Sometimes, no matter how much you might really desire something, it 
     may actually be better to do without than to continue to partake of 
     something which causes such conflict and turmoil. And sometimes you 
     ride uncomfortably on the bittersweet edge......................

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re: [at-l] Re: ATML Cross posting
Author:  "Charles W. Davidson" <wb4pan@mindspring.com> at ima
Date:    12/12/98 9:46 PM

        You can be very sure it is an extremely small minority of people that
support such barriers to free thought. Lots of people put up with it 
only because they will loose contact with other friends if the express 
there opinions.
Lucian Hicks wrote:
> I may be kicked off ATML for this post.  So be it.  If so, I have enjoyed my 
> time with so many of you.  You know who you are.  I just have a hard time
> silencing myself in the face of such petty rivalry.  It's not why we hike. 
> Peace, my friends.  The conflict is unproductive. 
> Lucian ("Bristlecone")
> GA>ME '99
> -----Original Message-----
> From: ATML <atlist@trailplace.com>
> To: atml@trailplace.com <atml@trailplace.com> 
> Date: Saturday, December 12, 1998 12:57 PM
> Subject: ATML Cross posting
> >>From time to time, I have to remind you not to cross post 
> >between lists. Some of you are on several lists, but you'll 
> >have to post separately here (don't just hit "carbon copy" 
> >or "reply to" and thus include other list addresses in the 
> >post you are sending to ATML). The reason is so that we
> >can keep a thread going here without the intrusion of posts 
> >coming in where you also have the same thread going on
> >another list. It leads to disconnected conversation and
> >discusssion, and so we just don't do it here on ATML. We've 
> >got a really good discussion group right now, with coherent 
> >and intelligent discussion, so let's take the extra trouble 
> >to be careful with posts, making sure they are addressed to 
> >ATML only if they are intended to be posted here. You may
> >want to do the same when posting to other lists, but I will 
> >leave that to those list admins to set their policy about
> >cross posting. Again, thanks for your cooperation. It makes 
> >my job as admin here on ATML a little easier, and it means
> >fewer bounced messages from non-ATML members in my admin box 
> >that I have to deal with.
> >
> >WF
> >
> * From the Appalachian Trail Mailing List |  http://www.backcountry.net  *
Charles W. Davidson (WB4PAN)
Axton, Virginia
* From the Appalachian Trail Mailing List |  http://www.backcountry.net  *