Nora had a difficult night last night which means that her parents had a difficult night which means that as I sit here at the kitchen table and type, there is a drained can of Cherry Coke Zero to the left of my keyboard. I have a problem. When I’m tired and numb-headed and not sure how I’m going to claw my way through the quicksand of my day, I resort to caffeine. It’s not a big dose: there are only 34.5 mg of caffeine in a can of Coke and I never drink more than one a day. (As vices go, I could do worse and I should be more worried about Gabie's recent addiction to Scooby Doo videos—something else I rely upon to make it through the tough days). Still I hate myself for what I see as a habit, a dependency, a hyperactive carbonated monkey on my back.
I managed to go the whole month of January without a single Coke. It was the only one of my New Year’s resolutions I managed to keep. Until now. All it took was a week of serious headaches at the first of February and a sale on the 12-packs at Smiths and I was off the wagon. I am weak. I’ll admit it.
I hesitate to confess my little habit because (a) I don’t want to sound sanctimonious to those who may drink coffee regularly or see caffeine as harmless, and conversely (b) I remember once reading a post by Katherine at Daring Young Mom where she talked about drinking a big jug of cola on a 10 hour drive to stay awake and someone left a comment to the effect of: “Hey, what are you doing? I thought Mormons don’t drink caffeine.” Yeah. Well, let me just clarify that Mormons do not drink coffee or tea. Mormons are also encouraged to stay away from caffeinated drinks (and as proof, the vending machines at the church-sponsored university where I teach sell only caffeine-deprived colas). But there’s no official church doctrine that forbids it and as far as I can tell, there’s no caffeine-sensitive breathalyzer on the pearly gates, which is a good thing because, well, as I said, I imbibe a Cherry Coke Zero almost every day.
I really hate the idea of being addicted to anything. I was shaken by the commercials for Pepsi Max during the Superbowl which basically stripped away all pretense that they were selling a beverage rather than a stimulant delivery system. I’m hoping to do better. Once I get the caffeine thing under control, I’ll be moving on to showing more restraint with the sugar and the chocolate, which frankly in the doses I consume are probably worse for my body than the Coke. I’m a mess. You know, if I drank alcohol, I’d probably be drunk in a gutter right now. Of course it would have to be a gutter with an internet connection because I couldn’t go too long without checking on my blog. Not that I’m addicted to blogging and need my daily fix or anything. Because that would just be silly.