About the second worst cup of coffee I’ve ever had…

(A twitter thread from 2022)

During college, I used to have a long-drive home. And due to schedules, it was often late at night.

The final 3 hours were down I-40 in NC. Which had been recently built.

This means there were NO facilities for that final 3 hours…

This meant you stopped before the I-40 turn for two reasons…

To avoid bladder emergencies. And your last chance for caffiene and food.

Luckily there was a nice gas station about 2 exits before the turn.

I don’t think it was a Sheetz, but it was an equivalent large-scale traveler shangrila. I stopped there often on that route. They had good coffee.

It was a pain if you missed this exit without noticing.

Once you got to the I-40 turn it was quite a while for the next exit to turn around.

So your choice was lose a half-hour … or make the 3 hour drive home and potentially explode a bladder…

One time, however, I noticed I missed the good exit…

But just in time to catch the NEXT exit. I asumed I would turn around.

But as I pulled down the exit ramp there was a dingy sign noting a single gas station was available on this exit.

The ramp ran off into the trees. And at the cross-highway intersection, which was quite dark, there was a single, solitary light.

It was above one of those old 2-pump gas stations and flickered slightly. And a sign (only a few bullet holes and rust) that said “Open 24 hours”

Inside this not-very-cheerful edifice was an equally not-very-cheerful employee.

They had set a center-island counter in the middle of the small building. The large and tired gentleman within its confines looked like he had been built there and was also on shift for 24-hours.

I went in and used the facilities.

They rated approximately “Montana unmanned I-80 rest-stop” on the cleanliness scale.

I was glad that, as a male, I could relieve myself without physical contact to surfaces.

On the way out, I decided to fortify myself.

So I purchased a hotdog and some coffee.

They did have hotdogs. Well. They had the bag of buns and ketchup bottle you’d buy at the grocery store. And some dogs slowly rolling in a warmer.

And the coffee pot was the usual Bunn.

Silly me. I got back in my car, negotiated the next few exits, and was well down I-40 before I elected to take a bit of the hotdog…

It was not a hot dog anymore.

It was shaped like one.

It looked like one.

It even smelled a little bit like one.

But… no…

It says a lot that as a starving college student I only ate about half of it before pitching it out the window of the car into the NC outback.

I can only assume it either disappointed a series of other animals or gained sentience and stalks me to this day…

Innocent lad that I am… and wanting to get that taste out of my mouth… I reached for the coffee.

Now I have had people describe to me what a religious revelation is. Or the positive effects of LSD. Or the ascention to true englightement…

This cup of coffee was the exact OPPOSITE of that.

If anything could throw a soul beyond the gates of hell and refresh it with enough hatred to recreate the very cosmic bang that destroyed chaos itself as a side effect… it was this $0.99 paper cup of coffee.

I can only assume that coffee pot had been refilled relentelessly. A legion of litch-like all-night employees just dumping more cheap grounds in on-top of the well-cooked tar of a thousand generations. A caustic brew so concetrated that only pure evil itself would survive.

My reaction?

I added another sugar packet and pretended it was ok.

I was dumb in my youth.

Angry at having wasted money on half a hot dog, I was determined to get my full worth here.

Stubborness gets you rewards.

I had never been on the razor’s edge between nausea and heartburn before.

I will give the drink credit: it kept me awake for the next 3 hours.

It also gave me insane dreams that night…

But that’s another story.

Moral learned? Don’t force yourself to drink a shitty coffee.

Also: turn the heck around and go to a decent place for a cup of joe.