When I was little, I frequently experienced sharp pains in my legs, mostly at night, that brought tears to my eyes and grape-flavored, chewable Tylenol to my mouth. My mom, an internet research junkie even then, spent hours studying up on the subject, and concluded that I had "growing pains," possibly brought on by a bad reaction to caffeine. Starting at about age 7, I began avoiding caffeine, and even to this day I rarely consume the drug, except for the occasional 5-Hour Energy Shot, Excedrin, or McDonald's large sweet tea for only $1. That said, when I do partake, even a little caffeine gives me bouncing-off-the-wall energy, jitters, and a slight sense of euphoria.
This morning I woke with a headache, probably from staying up too late (read: 2:00 AM) typing away on my trusty, little netbook. 2 Excedrin and 2-hours later, I am singing goofy, made-up songs to my children and dancing around the living room, happy for no apparent reason. It is at times like this that I think caffeine makes me a better person, and I contemplate the idea of starting a caffeine habit. But my fear is this: I begin drinking tea or coffee every morning, and soon need more and more to get the desired caffeine "high," and before too long I will need caffeine just to feel normal. Eventually, caffeine will have no positive effect on me, but I will have to have it or else severe withdrawal will take over, making me a cranky, grouchy person, worse than my pre-caffeine self. I don't want to become an addict, a caffeine junky, consumed by when I will next be able to score. The fear of withdrawal is enough to keep me "sober," even though that means my baseline is considerably less peppy than it possibly could be. But on those days I DO find an excuse to get caffeinated, I take full advantage, being more productive around the house and in the studio, churning out work like there's no tomorrow. I'm practically manic, only since it takes so little caffeine to put me in this state, I don't have to worry about hitting rock bottom when the effect wears off. The euphoria will gradually fade, leaving but a fond memory of the child-like energy and enthusiasm that the drug induces, and a stack of folded laundry, a clean kitchen, and 2,000 words added to my manuscript. Caffeine, you are like the long-lost friend whom I rarely see, and love all the more because you are rejuvenating in small doses, and you never overstay your welcome.
|I don't like coffee, but I can see myself becoming a tea drinker.|