It was a statue, much like this one I suppose, by which I was first introduced to Caffeina. Just before the turn of the century I had a couple of friends whom I would meet for coffee nearly every night. I’d only just started appreciating the beverage, as I was working an overnight job and coffee enabled me to shift to the unnatural sleep cycle that was required. So prior to loading up a mammoth thermos of light and sweet to get me through the dark hours ahead, my friends and I met in the parking lot of the donut shop, smoking and laughing and sipping and talking.
It was a time when I was starting to understand the nature of coffee, which I had largely eschewed before and would still only enjoy when it was highly doctored. I did not care for its taste, but my need for caffeine was hitting a peak because of my job, and Mountain Dew was not cutting it the way it had when I was in college. At the same time, the sharing of the cup was strengthening my bonds of friendship. That’s something I’d never gotten from a bottle of soda.
One of those friends mentioned to me in passing that she had a statue of the Roman goddess Caffeina on her desk at work. I was agog. There was such a thing? I was already Pagan, but in my experience had only exposed me to gods more ancient than the one in my childhood church. Caffeina was a name that spoke of the old ways but was clearly a new addition. And who doesn’t like coffee?
I asked my friend to get me one of those statues, and she agreed, but for all her powers of shopping it was never to come to pass. I never even laid eyes upon the one she had told me about. Life’s distractions, including a layoff and several moves, precluded that particular statue ever making it home, much less finding a copy of it.
The internet has bolstered my ability to search for such a statue myself, with no success. I know that the Nashville Parthenon once had them in its gift shop, but there’s no sign of them now. I found the picture in this post, so I know that they were real, and I’d love to get one of my own, but for now, the idea of that statue is what counts, because that’s why made me aware of Caffeina in the first place.