Sunday morning, the rain hasn’t stopped all night. I’ve boiled the kettle and am now sitting down with a comforting cup of hot coffee. I’m wrapped in a thick dressing gown. The day ahead is mine and it will be full of indulgences. I switch on the TV and prepare for E4 to pleasure me for the next few hours. My black coffee is now cool enough to drink so I take a mouthful. I feel something in my mouth and freeze … what the hell is it? I drop my jaw and allow both the liquid and “thing” to drop onto the plate that’s holding my toast. I stare at the now soggy toast and see the “thing” sitting on top of the raspberry jam. A slug. A Big. Fat. Slug. I thank God I didn’t chew. I close my jaw and sit, stunned and disgusted.
Yesterday, my boyfriend and I returned home and opened the back door to let some air through the house. When we went downstairs into the kitchen this morning a little trail of four slugs had trooped through from the garden. Three were on the floor and one was on the kitchen bench. We threw them back into the garden (my boyfriend refusing to kill any living thing, unless he’s eating it). Clearly an ambitious slug had sought out the closest source of water and promptly trotted (slid) himself into the kettle. I can’t imagine he was best-pleased when I switched it on …
This slug “incident” happened in 2004.
Returning to the present day, 23 October 2012. This morning I was standing on the tube in my favourite spot (by the open window where I can delude myself into thinking I’m getting some “fresh” London air). As part of my daily routine, I have a “keep-cup” cup of coffee. I take a mouthful and feel stuff. I freeze … what is it?! My instinct is to spit it out, but I’m in a train carriage. Social appropriateness is as ingrained as breathing. I close my eyes and swallow, my stomach lurching and my gag reflex putting up a fight. I know the “stuff” is only coffee granules that haven’t been filtered by the plunger. It can’t be anything else. It can’t be a slug … I watched the water pour in. Since “the incident” I always watch the water pour in.
The “stuff” is swallowed. This is no “incident” and I should now be back to listening to my music and mentally preparing for the day ahead. But instead I clench my jaw and battle the phobia that rises. Coffee is my drug of choice, my one true addiction (placing ibuprofen and alcohol in second and third place – though all three are often co-dependant on each other). I cannot become phobic about coffee. I love coffee. I need coffee. I assure myself that the chances of pouring a slug into my cup once were incredibly low; twice is ludicrously improbable. But I will buy a new cafetière tonight. Another new cafetière. That slug has cost me a lot of money in the past eight years.