Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Caffeine Blizt

I'm not supposed to have anything containing caffeine. All this pent up energy is mine all mine, no hot or cold trendy caffeine laden beverages needed. Today, I lunched with an old friend at a local southwestern joint, just a mile down the road from my college Alma mater and across the street from the Barefoot Peddler (see Restaurant Steals and Deals). I ordered the Overachiever Combo Platter with tofu and healthy doses of both beans and guacamole made in-house by a worker with a heavy hand for cilantro, not my favorite herb by a long shot. When it came time to choose a cold beverage, I should have reached for an ice cold Poland Spring Water but instead decided on a Diet-Coke directly out of the fountain, filled with enticing ice chunks and a nice fizz for that added draw. I know I looked more than excited for that diet soda, like a little kid in the height of the summer waiting for their mom to take a nice Tasty Freeze out the freezer for the Kool-Aid gang on the front porch. Even the "Welcome to Moooooe's" guy, with the deepest voice I've heard since that moustached crooner from the Oak Ridge Boys belted out "Elvira" back in the early 80's, quizzically looked at me when I proudly ordered my frosty soda pop. If I could read his mind he was probably thinking I was on the "wagon" or something less profound as he yelled in my ear, "Welcome to Moooooe's" again and again.

As I slurped away at my 20 ouncer, I expressed to my friend a fleeting fear of how this would affect me yet continued to suck away, burying my worries somewhere between a fork full of marinated soy and a gritty homemade salsa that tasted lousy. I was hungry so I wolfed it down the shoot anyway, caring more about the company I was keeping than the food on my plate. After much spirited conversation, thoughtful gift giving on my friends part (he bought me a gorgeous blank book encouraging me to keep writing) and wild laughter, I forgot about my dalliance with caffeine and decided my little dance with the dreaded stimulant was a "no harm, no foul" sort of thing and happily drove back to work.

Gradually, over the next hour, I began to feel jittery and mildly hyper but excused my behavior by rationalizing the poor beverage choice I made earlier in the afternoon. While driving home, I was chatting with my sister about Hillary Clinton's speech, starting to feel my heart rate accelerate, my blood pressure inch up the scale and my thoughts scatter. I was on a caffeine high and I was reeling, just a bit out of control. I wanted to concentrate on Hillary and not focus on the chemical disruption that was plaguing my biological make-up, but I couldn't seem to overcome this almighty feeling of being overwhelmed. Knowing that I needed to drink large volumes of water, I quickly entered the house, grabbing a bottle from the fridge and guzzling its contents till I had brain freeze. Just when I thought things couldn't get worse, I broke into a hot sweat that encompassed my entire body till I began to feel dizzy from near dehydration. Everything I had just digested was being pumped through my pores in quick time, leaving me feeling liked I'd just ingested a plate of "special" brownies and a plate of "shrooms."

I reached for a holistic remedy to calm my nerves and then watched more of the Democratic National Convention. I was waiting for Hillary Clinton to speak, keeping a big box of tissues close, so when I watched her deliver her thank you's to all her supporters, I could wipe the tears away. I'm not going to go into the fact that we should have a woman as the presidents anymore...at least not in this blog...but I am in the process of sending a letter to the editor of Newsday and The New York Times on her behalf.

After many late night "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pantsuits" phone calls and text messages from other concerned women, I crashed in my bed, finally coming down from my caffeine stupor. I'm definitely a fan of decaffeinated anything and made a promise to myself that I was never going to touch the "poison" again!

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