Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Why does coffee have a down side?

I love me some coffee.

I'm not an addict or anything. I don't have to have it every day, I don't need it to open my eyes in the morning, but when I do imbibe I love the rush it gives me. I love it smooth over my tongue, mellowed by half & half. I love it sugared enough to take the bitterness away and give my sweet tooth a tickle.

I love that it gets me off my backside and buzzing gently around the house taking care of things I've ignored for too long. I love that it props my brain up, knocking the internal switch into productive mode out of my normally contemplative neutral.

I like the way it smells and even though I'm 37 years old, this year is the first year I've invested in a coffee-maker of my own. In fact, this is the first time I've ever lived with such a machine. I've learned that I prefer the bold, smokey blends over the wimpy, medium roasts boasting of fruity undertones and summery notes. I enjoy all prep of measuring and grinding beans and flipping the switch to bring an instant perk of happiness to my nose and tongue.

And all of this is not even taking into account the coffeehouse coffees. I started with Mochas, the gateway drug of Starbucks. But I'm not one of those people who is menu monogamous where the staff knows your order as well as you do. Not me. I'm a caffeine slut. From day to day I don't know if I'll have a latte, or a cappuccino, if I'll add raspberry or vanilla or shake in the sugar packets myself. And lest you think it's just the coffee, I should mention that I have a long-standing affair with Earl Grey tea going back to my adolescence.

I'm the woman you hate. You're at the back of the line thinking, "just order your fucking coffee already and get out of my way." And I'm at the front of the line rubbing my hands with glee at the smorgasboard of caffeinated delights in front of me. The line behind me has faded into the background as I realize it's time to commit (if only for today) to a mighty taste sensation served up with a fake smile by a bored barrista.

I went for years without drinking the stuff. It's hell on your bones you know. As my sister says, "you might as well be pissing away your calcium." And I've always fully recognized that it's a drug, thus, my goody-two-shoes self used it as such. If I was in dire straits some grad school night and needed to finish a paper and prep a presentation for the next day, I'd turn to coffee to get me through. One cup would do the job for the entire evening. Yes, I was that much of a lightweight. The rest of the time I'd eschew caffeine in favour of a bright, happy Sprite or nice, earthy rootbeer.

But why does coffee have to have a down side? Why does it have to have such a ... ahem ... "stimulating" effect on my digestive system? Why does the high have to wear off so suddenly? Why is it that the sudden spike of energy drops away like a stone only hours after ingestion leaving me wrung out and blinking in whole notes, yet the half-life of the caffeine continues to keep me awake well into the wee hours of the night?

Why, coffee? Why???

Just finished: Dead As a Doornail
Currently reading: The Graveyard Book

1 comment:

Erika said...

So that's you standing in front of me in line! If I didn't like you so much I might be a bit perturbed. We'll get together one day and I'll buy you a cup. :)