Wednesday, December 01, 2004

She Don’t Lie. She Don’t Lie. She Don’t Lie. Caffeine.

I don’t recall what I was thinking when I made the decision to stop drinking caffeine, but I’d say the chances that I was hopped up on at least a six-pack of artificially sweetened carbonated heaven are pretty good. Perhaps that was it. Perhaps I saw how beholden I was to caffeine and that was why I decided to give it up. Or maybe I was drunk. Who knows?

I have reason to believe that my parents put Pepsi in my baby bottles – a reason based largely on the fact that I simply cannot think of a day in my life when I was not under the influence of a wicked caffeine buzz. All of the pinnacle moments of my life – my wedding, the birth of my kids, the first time I tasted Frosted Mini-Wheats – have been viewed through pupils dilated by Diet Coke. It’s not just some chemical that I imbibe. I give it more respect than to merely call it an ingredient.

Caffeine is who I am. Drink me.

One day I just decided it was time to eliminate it from my diet, and what followed was a week pocked with headaches, blurred vision, irritability, lethargy and general physical malaise that could only be approximated by taking a large prehistoric creature – think Godzilla – who is both addicted to heroin and enduring severe premenstrual cramping and throw that bitch into detox for a week without even so much as one Advil. There were wild mood swings, tantrums, broken glass, hurt feelings, weight loss, incessantly furrowed brows and a perplexing desire to disembowel anyone who asked me if something was wrong. “Of course something is wrong, you dirty whore! I haven’t been to Starbucks in a week! Now back off before I feed you my shoe!”

And that was just the family dog.

My mood eventually equalized and staying away from caffeine became less and less difficult. I started drinking Caffeine-Free Diet Coke, Caffeine-Free Diet Dr. Pepper, Caffeine-Free Root Beer, Caffeine-Free Squirt, decaffeinated coffee and – horror of horrors – water, which can not be robbed of its caffeine because the shit never had caffeine to begin with, which in my book puts in on the same plain as crystal meth, Hitler and the way my pee smells after I’ve eaten asparagus.

In spite of all of these tribulations, I maintained my caffeine-free diet for six months. I was cleansed. The devil was cast out. My pupils returned to their default dilation, my pulse slowed, my energy dipped from the level of a hyperactive five-year-old to that of a normal human being.

But like so many others, one slip led me back into temptation. I was in a meeting at a hotel and someone was mumbling on and on about sales or something and there was one of those little bottles of Diet Coke just sitting there asking me to drink it and I was weak. I drank it. I felt the bubbley goodness slide down my gullet. I felt my limbs tingle and jerk when the caffeine hit my nervous system. And then out of nowhere the caffeine grabbed hold of me like a puppet on a string. I ripped off my shirt, buttons flying everywhere, jumped up onto the table in the middle of the hotel ballroom, put my hands under my armpits in the shape of birdie wings and shouted, “I’m cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs! Braaaack! Braaaack! I’m cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs!”

Did you know that they don’t serve Starbucks in the psych ward? What a rip-off.


At 5:58 PM, Blogger honestyrain said...

the only thing i drink is water. and an occassional glass of apple juice but we stopped buying it. i haven't had coke in years and have never had coffee. yes i said never. i am a freak. deal with it.

At 7:10 PM, Blogger biggaysam said...

Being a mormon and banned from the evils of caffeine I naturally take every possible chance to imbibe. I feel your pain brother.

At 7:11 PM, Blogger drawdawn said...

I enjoy the occassional coffee. But I'm not addicted. Really. I don't drink coke often, stopped when pg with my son. But if you take a drink after not having it in a while I totally get that jerk/spasm thing going on too. Whats with that?

Mostly it's water for me too, though. Get with it - water is cool!

At 7:52 PM, Blogger honestyrain said...

she's right. water is cool. anyone not drinking water is not cool. poor you. not cool. awwwww.

At 9:27 PM, Blogger Lala said...

Dan: I hear ya brother, I need two Dr. Pepper's just to get me started.

At 1:18 AM, Blogger Kelly Hanson said...

I one point in my life, I was a serious caffeine junkie. I'd consume a 2 liter bottle of Diet Coke at work and another one at home. All that caffeine coursing through my veins, and yes, I slept well. Unfortunately, there were ill side-effects and the need to ween myself from the nectar of the gods prevailed. The detox: absolutely murderous. So, now, I drink Diet Sprite and Diet 7-Up, the best of the Un-Colas. They at least have some flavor. I've tried the whole H20 thing, and you know what...water tastes like.....wet nothing.

At 6:57 AM, Blogger Fiber said...

Water. Feh. Everyone knows that's for perverts and communists.

Yeah, I had to go caffeine-free as well. Geez, have a few heart palpitations and doctors start freaking out.

At 8:49 AM, Blogger Lexagirl said...

Water only tastes good when you put coffee or scotch in it. It is also acceptable when frozen into cubes and added to a diet coke.

At 10:07 AM, Blogger AnonymousCoworker said...

I've never been able to drink caffeine because I can never sleep afterwards. Though one time in high school (it's been that long since I've last had caffeine) I slammed two bottles of Jolt at lunch. I didn't think there was anything wrong with me until my English teacher told me to sit still and I looked down to see my hands gripped white-knuckled to my desk, which happened to be vibrating from the caffeine tremors I didn't realize I had.

At 2:14 PM, Blogger Pink Lemonade Diva said...

Ahh, but the worst evil of all is Starbucks Java Chip ice cream. I'd eat a bowl of it before going to bed and wonder why I'd be up until the wee hours of the morning.

I'm thinking of eating it first thing in the AM now.


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