November 15, 2017 by Amy
Adventures in Caffeine (Subtitle: Coffee: the Devil’s Drink)
Many of you who know me personally know that I have been decaf for years. Decades, even. I, unlike the vast majority of the population, do not need caffeine to be annoyingly perky in the morning. I’m just naturally someone whose peppy personality pisses off my colleagues who are more dependent upon their daily cup of joe to wake up and get going. Now that I’m older and my trusty Stomach of Steel that could consume anything my college self stuffed into it with nary a grumble has turned into a dyspeptic, grouchy old hag who is never pleased about anything, I can’t even enjoy a can of soda without there being…uh…repercussions. So, I ingest no caffeine on a regular basis. This hasn’t disrupted anything except that sometimes I just want an ice-cold Dr. Pepper, damn it. It’s not even for the caffeine. It’s because Dr. Pepper is the most delicious drink on the planet.
This morning, Zoe’s advisory at school hosted an appreciation breakfast for the cafeteria staff. They planned everything out and sent emails to the parents with plenty of notice. I’m really proud of them for coming up with the idea and then executing it so well. Zoe signed us up to bring hashbrowns, coffee, and paper products. I got up a little earlier than normal this morning to prepare the food, having hauled up our regular coffee pot from the party room downstairs. We use a Keurig upstairs, and there was no way I was going to stand there and make a pumper pot of coffee 10 ounces at a time. We actually had some regular coffee in the house for guests, Dunkin Donuts no less, so I made that since I am fully aware that my decaf preference is a rarity and that most people not only want but need fully caffeinated java. Maybe especially people who have to feed a few hundred middle schoolers every day. Those people might actually need something stronger than coffee. No judgements. Anyway, I was feeling good about everything, having done what I could the night before to prepare. The morning went smoothly, everything on schedule. Hashbrowns were in the oven and the paper products were packed and the coffee was brewing away.
The second Mr. Coffee carafe filled the pumper pot, leaving about six 5 oz. cups behind. Since I am on this whole “eliminate food waste” kick (that’s a story for a whole ’nother post), those last six cups were really bothering me. I wasn’t going to throw away six cups of coffee just to make a K-cup, right? The thermos! Yes! I found our silver thermos and filled that with coffee. It took only two cups. I didn’t realize our stupid thermos was that small. Four cups left. Eh, what the hell, I thought. I got my favorite travel mug (the one that says “Good to the last plot” because I am a dork and I love cheesy writer humor), dumped in creamer, and poured the remaining four cups, praying to not have what I fully expected to be uncontrollable side effects. I noticed that with four Mr. Coffee cups, my travel mug was very full, having way more coffee in it than my 10 oz decaf Keurig normally serves. Like, twice as much. What could it hurt, right? Hold my mug.
Damn, that coffee was good. I mean, it was fantastically delicious. I found myself slurping it down at a much faster rate than my normal decaf. No problem…I had twice as much! And for awhile, I was fine. Everything was fine. Really, it was.
An hour later, back home and at my desk, I realized that I was typing at what I can only describe as a superhuman rate. I was in the zone. Hyper focused. Insanely productive. The keyboard was practically smoking. The computer couldn’t keep up and I typed anyway, watching whole words and sentences appear 20 seconds after I typed them. I blew through emails like they were nothing. I edited an existing piece quickly and with ease. My watch dinged to remind me to stand up and I not only stood up, I literally ran around my house. I refilled my water cup and threw in a load of laundry and washed the hashbrown pans and sorted the overstuffed gift certificate/coupon bag in approximately 7.2 seconds. It was amazing. This is awesome, I thought. What have I been missing all these years? My gawd…my productivity had skyrocketed and my energy levels were off the charts. I felt great! Clearly I was going to have to make this caffeine thing part of my daily routine. No wonder people love this stuff! I made plans to make a whole pot of the seductive elixir the next day. Move over Keurig…Mr. Coffee and his magic beans are back! No matter that I was shaky and couldn’t sit still. It was no big deal my heart was racing…it’s invigorating! Never mind that I was running to the bathroom way more than normal…I was getting extra steps in! I didn’t eat very much lunch, either. Too driven to get things done! A new weight loss plan! This was working out beautifully!
By 2 p.m. I was struggling to keep my eyes open and I think I may have drooled on my keyboard a little bit. My brain felt like mush. I couldn’t concentrate. Everything was in a fog. By 4 p.m. my head hurt from not eating. It was no longer fun to slog to the bathroom yet again. The laundry sat sopping wet in the washer and I didn’t give a damn.
I went from the highest high to the lowest low in a matter of hours. Caffeine, you tricky beast, you sneaky seductress. I will not be fooled by you again. Back to the Keurig with its reasonable portions, back to the decaf. Back to a boring, normal rate of work with a boring, normal heart rate and no afternoon crash.
It was glorious, though, while it lasted.