18 July 2007

Black as Hell, Strong as Death and Sweet as Love

A friend who knows me all too well sent me this link to an article in Monday's Times all about the author's downward spiral into caffeine addiction (mmm, what a deliciously jittery and productive slippery slope it is).

I can sympathise. I used to hate coffee and all other hot beverages but then a few 12-hour shifts at the Sandwich Shop of Dreams, where the hours were long, the work was hard, the customers were Oxford students and the cappuccini flowed freely soon had me addicted, although I still didn't like the stuff. Somewhere along the way (possibly around the time I got my first cappuccino maker, circa 2002), I actually started to like it and then, for a while, I would even order a decaf espresso to round off a good meal.

Now, I am so convinced my addiction is psychosomatic, I don't even need to drink decaf. In the morning, as soon as I wake up and smell the coffee, I instantly feel more alert. I know this because some mornings, I am so tired when I wake up that I become trรจs scatty and make the cappuccino and then forget to drink it (thankfully, foam is a good insulator and I usually remember while the drink is not yet too tepid) and yet still feel more awake. Equally, I can drink coffee within an hour of going to bed and because I am not concentrating on its magical arousing powers, I fall asleep within about 2 minutes (according to assorted bedfellows).

So, what's wrong with with getting all wired up on it, all fired up on it? Sometimes, I do go a bit far and get even more hyperactive than usual, with my brain wanting to do 17 different things at once instead of the usual 7 and yes, sometimes I do get the jitters and the shakes and become very, very manic, but that's all part of the fun.

The only flipside is what happens when there is no coffee. When I moved into my current house back in November, I didn't have a cappuccino machine for over a month and survived on (shock horror!) instant (propped up by a lunchtime trip to Nero or Costa). The worst was on a three-week trip to Cuba where most places did actually do espresso but the machines were often broken (and the water very often dodgy) and (worse) they used robusta not arabica. Fatal caffeine error. But I lived to tell the tale... Just don't go offering me any of that tea stuff. Tea is for lightweights and caffeine is for people who actually like to GTD!

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