I grew up in Australia where people drink tea like all good British subjects. I don’t remember anyone drinking coffee, and there certainly wasn’t the proliferation of coffee shops like there is here (especially on the coasts).
My in-laws, on the other hand, are capable of consuming vast amounts of coffee. I tried it occasionally – both in a summer job and once married – but never could get the taste of it. I was told “you have to get used to it” but that didn’t make much sense.
When we had our first child I was still in grad school, and staying awake during morning Hebrew class on little sleep was not working well. So I tried coffee in the mornings (my wife thoughtfully bought me a large travel mug) and, through the use of creamer and willpower, came to appreciate* it.
The presence of daily coffee in the house gave me some flashbacks. I knew the scent from somewhere, but couldn’t remember where exactly. Then I remembered. Coffee smelled like the inside of the trans-pacific airplanes that we rode as children on our visits to America. The very vivid scent that I recalled from entering the closed planes for hours was now duplicated in my house.
Then I realized: It’s not that coffee smells like airplanes, however. It’s that airplanes smell like coffee. It was the only place I remembered smelling it (and for hours with the recycled air).
I felt so much smarter.
I didn’t promise it was an especially interesting story, but it does remind me of the importance of perspective. Where you come from has vast implications on how you view things. I really try to keep this in mind when I speak to people, especially when there background is similar (but not identical) to mine, as differences can be more difficult to distinguish and remember.
* is this just another another word for addiction?