Tossing and turning, sleep eluded me. The few hours of sleep afforded me were interrupted by feelings that something was missing, that a void had yet to be filled, that one element, I knew not what, was just out of my reach. I stumbled to the bathroom, cursing the sleep lost on me. I switched on the harsh, bathroom light, squinted, groaned and gazed at my sorry self: dark circles under my eyes, tangled hair in need of a cut, style, ANYTHING to perk up my look. Even my normally rosy complexion reflected the stark, white moonlight in a very haunting way. What could this be? This restless feeling, this emptiness. Then recognition dawned on me – I hadn’t drunk a Pumpkin Spice Latte yet, and I was probably the only one left.
What is it about that damn pumpkin spice that peppers and punctuates thousands of Facebook posts and tweets, expressing how relieved and satisfied everyone is that the coffee is back? What force has overtaken normal coffee drinkers and made them passionately mad for this seasonal drink? Whenever I pass that infamous doughnut place, I see the alluring Styrofoam cups of coffee, wispy threads of steam attracting (brainwashing) the masses, the rich orange of pumpkins framing and enhancing the photos even though the coffee, thankfully, is not orange. Isn’t orange the new black or something like that?
But, wait! It’s not just coffee anymore. It’s candles, potato chips, marshmallows, air fresheners, body lotions, vodka, beer, and standards like breads, pies and cookies, too. In my search, I even came across dog biscuits. Somehow, some way, pumpkin spice M&Ms found their way into my grocery cart. It had to be the boy or maybe the girl. My husband B even snuck in pumpkin spice coffee, magically obscuring it in a paper bag, and mysteriously setting it among the rest of the coffee like I wouldn’t notice. And, now, despite the fact that I’m not a big fan of the flavor and will only consume semi-homemade pumpkin pie (canned pumpkin only, please) maybe twice before Christmas, if that, I caught myself calling B over in the supermarket to show him the new pumpkin spice raisin bread and bagels, jumping up in delight. Lighting up an apple candle, I thought, “Hmm…why don’t I buy a pumpkin spice candle?” Sometimes, I feel like I’m itching to join the Pumpkin Spice Popularity Club for no other reason than to not be on the outside looking in of my favorite “flying green mermaid” coffee shop. Has the pumpkin spice hype gained a choke hold on my conscious self? Am I the next pumpkin spice zombie victim?
Seriously, though, I understand the appeal. Summer’s over, and a crisp chill wakes us up in the morning and puts us to bed at night. We crave warm, fuzzy blankets to snuggle under and to clasp our cold hands around warm mugs of coffee. The aroma of pumpkin spice offers up that warm, comfy-cozy feeling – add it to a steaming, rich cup of coffee, and you have a winner in the spice wars and one good reason to crawl out of your warm bed in the morning. Waking up cranky kids to meet the school bus is certainly an unmatched reason for getting out of bed when it comes to the anticipation of that first sip of pumpkin spice coffee. Could many moms even manage without it?! So, excuse me, while I brew up my pumpkin spice coffee and reach for a slice of homemade pumpkin bread, filling in the gap between summer and winter. Another one bites the pumpkin spice dust…
This is an original post for JerseyMomsBlog by M.B. Sanok who is also the Executive Editor for South Jersey Mom magazine.