Coffee Project: epilogue

July 17th, 2010

A puppet of coffee

I owe you all an explanation.  Didn’t I quit drinking coffee?  Why am I now spotted every day with a mugful of the stuff in my vibrating hands, or a headful of it in my erratic behaviour?  (More than one person has busted me on this — which is funny, because I didn’t think anybody reads this blog.)

Yes, I’m back on the sludge.  All day, every day.  It’s been like this since I began work on my current novel in April.  I found I simply couldn’t get work done without it.  How sad is that?

During that period when I was drinking coffee every other day, I found I could never really get much done on the decaf days.  I was too relaxed, maybe.  But also unfocused, and honestly kind of depressed.  The coffee-withdrawal sadness never really went away in the whole two months I was “clean.”

That time away from coffee, though, was very good for me.  Unproductive, but healthful.  I seem to have more of a grip on my dosage now.  I’m more conscious of when coffee is messing with me physically and mentally.  I would like to believe that I’m not letting coffee drive me into grumpy rants or apoplectic fits.  Please come visit me and judge for yourself.

I’m almost done with that book.  When I finish I’ll be in a position, maybe, to take another break.  I am still angered and frustrated by my slavery to this drug!  I feel like the helpless puppet of Juan Valdez!  But I’ve definitely come to know and understand exactly what coffee does for me, good and bad.

My friend Andy in San Francisco had a simple take on it.  Coffee, he said, makes you smarter.  It is a performance-enhancing drug for knowledge workers.  Maybe that’s not the effect it has on everybody, but it’s frighteningly accurate to how I experience it.  Without the stuff, my mind doesn’t seem to work right; caffeine has become part of my identity, my sense of how I think.

I wonder what I’d be like today if I’d never had the stuff.  I am trying to keep my daughter away from it, but I feel like a hypocrite telling her it’s bad.  She likes it.  She’s ten years old and she craves caffeine — that can’t be good, can it?

One Response to “Coffee Project: epilogue”

  1. Nate Beaty Says:

    I made the successful “switch” to green tea years ago, but I still swoon at just the smell of coffee. Unfortunately, it just stopped having that delicious effect on my brain at some point, and just made me kind of sleepy and gut-broken. Green tea (good green tea! not supermarket garbage) on the other hand gently prods me to keep going all day and doesn’t make me feel like shit, ever.

    I still employ a small, strong pot on the rare days where I *really* need to be punched in the synapse face, when I can’t manage to focus on anything beyond internetbation, or when I just want to fall in the dreamy arms of that intoxicating, creative aroma. There really is nothing like it. I love you, coffee. I really do. Don’t leave me baby. Come back. Please.

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