as with all addictions

caffeine is a substance with which i would consider myself to have an addiction-like relationship.

as with all adictions, i have very specific  memories of experiences related to caffeine… memories of people and places; of the binds caffeine has gotten me into, and those it has gotten me out of. likewise, i have my preferences. i have learned the effects of various caffeine bearing beverages on my body chemistry – what kind of high they offer, and, for the most part, just how low & where they will drop me off.

in 2003, i experienced what i recall as my first conscious caffeine cravings. my best friend’s brother, five years younger than us, had died unexpectedly in an accident. during the week or so i spent with her family as a mourner, i had consistent cravings for coca cola classic – in a can.

i was rewarded, then, with a comfort that was certainly some kind of tripped-out highly-cross-wired sensational experience – my brain consolidating the physical high of coca cola’s sugar-caffeine formula and the early-childhood-memories of sharing cans of coke at mattie’s pizzeria – a special end-of-the-week treat – when i was too young to finish my own can. this was a time surrounded by family, by the dynamic experience, the home-like comfort, of arriving in a restaurant where we knew the owner, the waitress, the pizza-maker – and they knew us, too. so, sure. i think a can of coca cola was pretty on the money that week – my brain working its magical higher functions – never shared at the time this rational explanation of what was a slightly bizarre craving streak.

about five months later, i was in france for the first time – spending a month on a study abroad program in a town called hyeres, on france’s mediteranean border between marseille and nice. i was flailing, in some respects, with another dependency: the crush addiction – stirring solitude, a desire-swiveled new friendship and the beguiling lingua- and landscapes of the french riviera – all a-mix with the new -taste- sensation of french caffeine!

<<un cafe, s’il vous plait.>>

this phrase might be in the same chapter one as <<bonjour, je m’appelle _______.>> it is elementary.

“hello, my name is tamar! coffee, please.”

in hyeres, i found out just how rich a coffee high could be. it was mood altering. other people noticed.

that next semester, the fall of 2003, i have a memory of walking across campus holding a very large cup of coffee [nothing like the demi-tasse, slow-sipping-dark-thick beverage of the summer], determined to “get high”. i wanted that insane, stuporish dip & dive, but… as with all addictions, there had already been a shift. the first pleasures had come and gone – the virginal arrival in the blood stream had been pissed away – the summer was over & campus coffee, it seemed, had been over before it had started.

i’ve been a coffee-pretty-much-everyday kind of girl for some time now… discovered a broad array of caffeine sensations – from the difference between my favorite local cafes to the difference between pepsi and coke. i have learned some interesting facts about my natural chemical reaction to these caffeine sources – that i have become intolerant in recent years, for example, to coca cola crashes in the form of serious short temperedness; that i absolutely cannot drink coffee after 3pm if i intend to be able to fall asleep without an extended period of racing thoughts.

the thing is, i never really put it together until this week that even my morning cup of coffee could be the source of my tendency to have painfuly light sleep…

could it be?


About scribblelip

walking down the road with a book of conjugations in my hand.
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