Sunday, August 25, 2013

the perfect pair

Last night I went to a coffee tasting at my church to celebrate the opening of our new coffee shop. We got to meet the farmer who grows the coffee beans that my church purchases through direct trade and he explained to us the history, process, and importance of direct trade and how it benefits the coffee farmer and his workers.

Afterwards we had the opportunity to taste several different kinds of coffee; coffee from different parts of the world and brewed using a variety of methods. To help us identify the unique flavors in the different coffees, they were paired with a complementary snack. You would take a sip of the coffee, a bite of the snack, and then another sip of the coffee and then the coffee would taste a little different, a little better.

Cafe au lait and beignets - a very good pairing. 
Besides just being a fun experience, the parings of the coffee and snacks and made me think about pairings of people and how our personality types go together just like certain snacks and certain coffees or wines. Just like a blueberry might bring out the tartness, a green bell pepper the spiciness, and a cinnamon cookies the warmth and depth of a cup of coffee, people bring out different qualities in one another. And it's not necessarily that any one paring is particularly wrong. You can surely drink a beer while you're eating a donut, but it will not be same experience as a beer with Tex-Mex or a cup of coffee with a donut.

This happens in both romantic relationships and friendships. Sometimes you just automatically click with another person. Some people may bring out your funny side, your lazy side, your anxious side, or your authoritative side. When you meet someone who brings out a negative side (the equivalent of a glass of Merlot with a corn dog), it's time to find a better pairing.

When it comes to romantic relationships, the affect of the pairing is even more heightened because you're going to be partaking of that pairing for the rest of  your life. It's one thing to have a cup of coffee with a spicy curry dish once, but everyday? That's probably not a commitment you want to make. And just because two things don't go together doesn't mean there is anything inherently wrong with either half of the pair. Red wine is delicious and popcorn is delicious, but maybe not together (actually, I can't think of much that doesn't sound good with red wine...). But a coke and popcorn? Yes. Red wine and bruschetta? Yes.

So, in a way, life is all about finding those complementary pairings. Of course we can get along with or at least be kind to absolutely anyone, but life will be most satisfying when we find the people we were created to "go with".

Although, playing along with my own metaphor, I must be a really strong, exotic cheese or a very potent, rare cup of coffee/glass of wine because I have yet to find my romantic perfect pairing - the one who brings out my best qualities, and I his. Until then (or in any event), there is really nothing more wonderful than a profoundly good cup of coffee or a very nice glass of wine, all by itself. Some things are so good that they stand alone and need no enhancement. :)

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