This Is Us

I Miss Overpriced Coffee

An ode to the experiences we took for granted

Harris Sockel
Human Parts
Published in
4 min readApr 22, 2020


A photo of coffee cups lined up.
Photo: Mara Ohlsson/Getty Images

Do you remember coffee?

Not beans, which you buy in silence, mask stretched over your face, eyes darting under fluorescent lights. Not the glass carafe on your kitchen counter. Not your Keurig, which doesn’t count and never did.

I mean paper cups. Plastic lids with small embossed brand names. Loud rooms with retro light fixtures and overpriced banana bread. Strangers yelling at you to stop looking at your phone, it’s your turn, and oh my god, sorry, can I just have a small coffee? A small coffee. Hot cardboard juice that costs $3.25. Or iced coffee, all ice and no coffee. It costs $4.00. You shove your straw in, it overflows, and now your hands are wet. There goes your money.

It’s spring in New York City, and no one is strolling down the sidewalk sipping too-expensive iced coffee from a paper straw that gradually disintegrates in their mouth.

I love trash in my mouth. It was my ritual. The purchase that told my brain: “It’s spring.”

I love asking where the bathroom is and being told there isn’t one. Or there is, but it’s locked, and here’s the key. The key is attached to a giant wooden stick. I love carrying a giant wooden stick through a room of strangers…