That Time I Gave Up Coffee

A long time ago I drank a lot of coffee. Well, a long LONG time ago I didn’t drink any coffee. But then I started, got out of control, and sometimes drank six cups a day. I wasn’t even a nurse or grad student. I was just someone who worked in retail and socialized at coffee shops and stayed up too late.

I gave it up, and then slowly started again. My average coffee consumption is one large cup, occasionally two, per day. Except when I was pregnant the first time, when coffee made me nauseated so I drank tea. (When I was pregnant the second time there was no way on this earth I would get from home to daycare to work to daycare to home without coffee, so that’s why Eli is crazy, because he was cooked in a caffeinated, stressed-out soup.)

One or two cups of coffee a day doesn’t feel like an addiction. A habit, yes. A nice, friendly habit. Something you do because it’s pleasant and you enjoy it, not because you have to.

As Saint Aardvark is fond of saying, “That turns out not to be the case.”

Over the weekend, our house had The Barfs. Really it was only Arlo who barfed, but we were watching ourselves and Eli closely because DOOMPANICNOROVIRUS has been in the news for months now and part of me was excited because we could get the Norovirus over with already and get on with our lives, but part of me–most of me–was NOT excited because I hate barf. Barf is not my speciality. And before you say “it’s not anyone’s specialty, you lunatic,” let me add, there are people for whom it is no big deal. I have met those people. I am in awe of them. Though many of them freak out at the thought of green snot in a child’s nose, so: parenting. It’s a buffet of things you may or may not hate!

True to our history with The Barfs, Eli didn’t get sick, SA waited until last, Arlo improved drastically within 24 hours and within that same 24 hours, I started to feel queasy. This is my thing. Two years ago it had me frantically googling queasy NOT PREGNANT Gastroenteritis NOT FLU cancer but now I know, it’s just how I get stomach viruses. I feel like I might barf for some period of time (the longest was two weeks. TWO WEEKS OF FEELING QUEASY NOT PREGNANT) and then one day I wake up and don’t feel that way anymore.

So on Sunday, that queasy, might-barf feeling in my throat, I cancelled all the plans because of course this was the weekend we had all the plans, drank a pot of ginger tea, got into bed, held all my calls, read stuff, and napped. And lo! Rest cures the wicked and on Monday I felt much better, which was handy because Arlo still felt bad and SA was on his last legs.

Yet! Yesterday I decided to not drink my morning cup of coffee, because when I have my queasy-times, a cup of coffee generally sets them off again. I had some weak tea and a lot of water. I got through the whole day yesterday without coffee, which to me said “Hey, maybe you could give up coffee! Or not? Your choice!”

This morning I woke up with a headache that felt like Tom Waits in a metal shed recording a new album based on the moral collapse of North America.

“Oh no, oh hell, oh what have I got now, is it ‘flu it can’t be ‘flu I got the shot, oh oh oh” I thought, or attempted to think. I came downstairs, drank a big cup of coffee and somewhere halfway through that cup of coffee felt quite suddenly as though I could conquer small countries if only the prime minister would give me the go-ahead and some money to hire an army and I had the inclination to conquer small countries. Not only that, but I could go for a run, come back, make healthy food, force the kids to eat it, write a novel, publish that novel, go on a book tour, get a master’s degree in country-conquering

you get the idea. I went into the kitchen, dancing, singing, “coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee COFFFEEEEE!” and so I think it’s safe to say that no amount of coffee is a safe amount and I am clearly an addict. And that I should probably never try cocaine.

6 thoughts on “That Time I Gave Up Coffee

  1. Nicole

    I have so much to say.
    a) I have cut down on my coffee consumption, but that is relative. I drink like six cups a day. IN MY DEFENSE it is home brewed, very weak, and when I say six cups I mean I fill the water to the six cup line on my coffee pot. Also I get up at 4:45 in the morning. Also I finish all my coffee consumption in the morning, I’m definitely not an all-day coffee drinker.
    b) Apparently I need an intervention.
    c) We had norovirus! The best thing about it is now I’m not worried that we’re going to get norovirus! We already HAD it.
    d) I got norovirus, I am almost sure, from a grocery store cart. I didn’t go anywhere else, so it’s the only option. EW.
    e) Another upside to norovirus is that I got it right after Christmas and so lost any weight that I might have gained from eating tons of mint chocolates.
    f) I just really, really like drinking coffee.

    1. branch Post author

      But did you drink coffee WHILE you had norovirus? Just curious. And getting up at 4:45 totally justifies whatever you want to do with the rest of your day. I bow to you.

  2. Pat

    Did I ever tell you about the week I stayed with Wayne and Karen’s and without saying anything she fed us decaffinated coffee. Arrived Sunday and on Wednesday I woke up with the pain equivalent to an axe blow between the eyes. I could notfocus on anything. It wasn’t amlicious she just didn’t think to tell us. Went right down the street to get a real coffee at the local restaurant and then waited for the grocery store to open. It is an addiction and the withdrawl sucks. That is why I have no intention of quitting. That and I like coffee too much to quit.

  3. Nan |

    I started drinking coffee at age 16, when I was pretty sure I was never going to surpass 5 feet 3 inches. I’ve been hooked ever since, except for the year I worked as a barista. I couldn’t get the smell of coffee out of my hair, clothing and skin and so I couldn’t bring myself to drink any. But now that monkey is on my back to such a degree that my coffee pots usually last less than 12 months due to overuse.

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