Monday, April 05, 2004

Day Four

Today is Day Four. It has been four days since I made a life-altering decision. This is the fourth day that I have gone without coffee. This is the first day that I've been able to talk about it...

It began last Thursday.

My girlfriend came by to pick me up from work, as usual. I was exhausted from a long day of trying to look busy, as usual. Untold milligrams of caffeine from uncounted cups of coffee were coursing through my veins, as usual. We kissed and then proceeded on our way, my knee bouncing triple-time to whatever song was on the radio, as usual.

After the typical, "How was your day?", "Good. And yours?", "Fine.", she got to telling me that she had been talking to her Mom. Now, that conversation opener never ceases to send a shiver down my spine. As a man, you have to perk up, pay attention, and be ready to defend yourself, or defend your mate, depending where the damage has been inflicted. So, steeling myself for the worst, I put on my most casual smile (knee now bouncing wildly out of control) and said, "Really? What's up?" She took my hand the way you would if you had to tell someone that their dog has died and said, "She thinks you're addicted to coffee."

Well blow me down! What a revelation! I almost burst out laughing... What was the first clue? The 7 or 8 trips to the coffee maker a day? The pile of empty Tim Horton's cups on my desk? My constant state of vibration? Or maybe that "I haven't slept in 3 days" look in my eyes? Of course I'm addicted to coffee! Everybody knows that! I've been going hardcore with the ol' java juice since I was 16... Drinking it black since I was 21... That's 17 years of serious Joe Time!

Okay, in all fairness, she's a sweet lady and she's only just gotten to know me in the last few months, so I shouldn't be too sarcastic. In fact, it turns out that it was the "I haven't slept in 3 days" look in my eyes that tipped her off. Apparently, she was a big coffee-addict in her day, so she knows the signs, and she had to give it up under doctor's orders. I knew there was a reason I don't like doctors...

Well, I've been told many a time before that I should drink less coffee, but I never listened. Why should I? It wakes me up in the morning, it gets me through my tedious workday, it's the perfect social drink, and it keeps my point of view just enough off-center to keep me amused. It's a vice, but one I've accepted with open arms. Still, I got to thinking... If someone who doesn't really know me can tell by looking at me that I'm a coffee junkie, maybe it's time to cut back a little... or a lot.

So, I've decided to do a little de-tox routine. I decided to give coffee up completely for one week. Seven days without my crutch. Drink lots of water, flush out the system, and start fresh. This is Day Four... Here's what you've missed:

Day One: Woke up fine, as usual, and went to work where I promptly began falling asleep. I yawned more times that day than I think I ever have in an 8 hour period. My brain felt foggy, the day seemed to last an eternity, and the headaches began. My favorite part? That would have to be my encouraging co-workers. The ones who laughed and kept offering to get me a coffee. Ah, my support group.

Day Two: If you've been keeping track, you'll know this was Saturday. The headaches came on with a vengeance, as did my bitchiness. I think I have been given a glimpse into the world of PMS and Nic Fits (my apologies to all my smoker friends who I've teased over the years as they've tried to quit). Everything annoyed me. Sound annoyed me. Silence annoyed me. Newton's Third Law of Physics pissed me off (and I've always been rather fond of that one). Even being annoyed at everything was getting on my nerves. My family began referring to me as He Who Should Be Avoided.

Day Three: Awoke after a restless night of back aches and leg cramps. It was a day spent alternating between vegging out to movies, arguing with my girlfriend over nothing, and soaking in hot baths. The pain settled somewhere in my hips (man, I sound like a woman) and didn't go away until I took a heavy dose of Motrin and Tylenol. By this point, even my loving girlfriend was urging me to have a cup...

And today is Day Four. Surprisingly, the headaches have become little more than mild sinus pressure (child's play), and my mood is greatly improved. Of course, being a Monday, I was back at work and surrounded by people carrying all forms of take-out cups, travel mugs, and coffee cups. Each time I was forced to walk past the coffee maker was a true test of my will. But, with many trips to the water fountain and keeping myself occupied with work (it's amazing how fast the day passes when you actually do something...), I was able to stick to my resolve.

I'll try to keep you updated on my progress. Of course, if I never write another word on this topic again, I think you'll all understand and never mention it, right?
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