One of the first things I noticed about my husband when I met him was his backpack. While every other student at the university carried a standard black and some-other-colour backpack (mine was black and maroon), he had a khaki brown, military-style rucksack. One pocket on the outside held a battered green thermos. Every morning, he filled that thermos full of coffee and then, throughout the day, topped up his coffee mug until riding the bus home with empty thermos and mug at the end of the day.
By the time we married, he had a new backpack (yellow and black, standard style, with the university logo on it) and a new coffee mug (a gift from me for his graduation). He’d given up on the thermos and now carried a small jar of instant coffee in an outside pocket on the backpack; hot water was readily available around the university.
His coffee mug is always stainless steel and black, though it’s been through several incarnations in the near-decade I’ve known him. It first shows up in my photos albums at my graduation; we took pictures in my friend’s backyard between the grad ceremony and the reception that evening. We’re standing under an apple tree, whose green leaves and white blossoms match the corsage pinned to my shoulder. He has an arm around my waist and my arm is over his shoulder; I’m smiling, but you can’t see his smile because the coffee cup is in the way.
One of our friends commented on how often the coffee mug shows up in our honeymoon pictures. Nearly half of the photos of my husband feature the mug. It went on the hikes with us and all around the cruise ship. There’s a series of pictures where I’m holding the mug because he wanted to take some pictures—or maybe I was cold out on the deck of the ship and just borrowed the mug to warm my hands. In the next picture, I’m holding the mug out to him, smiling for the camera. The last picture is him with his mug again.
They say that when you love someone, his (or her) habits begin to wear off on you. I hadn’t been dating my husband for very long when I started using phrases like “it’s all good” that I learned from him. Picking up the coffee mug habit took a big longer, even though I’ve had a personal mug since my days working as a summer student at my dad’s office during university. Sometimes, when we went on road trips for the weekend, I’d fill my mug with hot chocolate or tea while he was making coffee.
I didn’t start using my own coffee mug until I worked at Starbucks and became a more serious coffee drinker. As baristas, we were encouraged to use personal mugs for the five free drinks we were allowed per shift (hey, in a week, that’s a lot of paper cups). Starbucks also offered a discount for customers who brought in their own mug, but I was surprised by how few people did that.
I was unpacking a new shipment when I found my mug. It’s curvy and slender, light green, grande size. I bought it for my birthday (before my husband could find a way to sneakily buy it without me noticing).
Since then, I’ve come to love my coffee mug. It keeps drinks hotter for longer than a paper mug and it’s easier to drink from. Sometimes, when I’m thinking about buying a coffee, I’ll decide not to because I didn’t bring my own mug with me. Other times, when I’m thinking about taking my mug, I’ll decide not to because I don’t want to cart it around all day.
Recently, several coffee mugs went missing. My husband started using my mug—the one from my summers working with my dad’s company. I wanted to say, “Don’t lose that mug!” but I didn’t. He did. He put it down on the bus, he said. I called Victoria transit; had they found it? Yes, they had.
The girls and I took the bus the next day and made a detour to pick up my mug. (Moral of that story: carry a mug that’s easy to identify, just in case you lose it.) He jokes he’s just trying to find an excuse to buy a new Contigo mug we’ve heard good things about.
Environmental reasons aside, may I heartily recommend a travel mug to you—it’s much more convenient and personal.