They say that sleep is a symptom of caffeine deprivation. I have obviously not been sufficiently deprived.
They (and by “they” I haven’t the slightest clue who they are) say that a writer is a peculiar organism who has the rare ability to turn caffeine into books. If this was actually the case, then I should have written an entire library by now. Unfortunately I have done no such thing. In fact, most of my writing is incoherent at best. At its worst it is appreciated by people who have no business liking it. It is well received in the sort of way I find most offensive.
But let’s return to this caffeine consumption. Everyone has an addiction of sorts, and even though the term “addiction” has a negative connotation, it is not always as insidious as it may sound. I mean, some people are addicted to quilting. Can you possibly get more harmless than that?
Caffeine, I would like to place in the same category as quilting, in that it is innocuous at best (unlike other addictions, such as heroine). Moreover, it actually serves a purpose, namely to keep me functioning at proper levels. Arguably quilting also serves a purpose, to create items that will keep people warm at night, which is also very important. I suppose in this sense caffeine and quilting are diametrically opposed. The first serves to keep one out of bed, while the other can only function when one is in bed.
This analogy is rather perplexing. It is either very good, quite terrible, or so horrendous it is actually hilarious. Or I have consumed so much coffee today I am actually delirious. Your choice.
But coffee and I have had a special relationship over the years. First, high levels of coffee consumption run in my family. Mainly on my father’s side. I fondly remember being a little girl, about three or four, and sitting with my father and my aunt during their morning coffee. I liked sleeping in, so when I did saunter out of bed in the morning they were already on their second or third cup. They would sit out on the balcony, smoking and having cappuccinos. Both would let me dip my tiny fingers into their cups and taste the froth.
Years later I remember my first real cup of coffee (which was actually far from actual coffee). I was twelve, and Tanya’s mother took us to Starbucks. I was not yet a fan of plain coffee, so we both got the fancy mixed drinks that had a splash of coffee and far too many ounces of syrup, milk, and various other liquids. That was the onset of my addiction, which took years to fully develop into what it is now.
I spent several months saving my money each week for frappuccinos. They were just as expensive back then, except minimum wage was less than five dollars an hour. That phase lasted until the winter months, when I discovered the caramel macchiato, and that remained my favorite drink for years (until they introduced the pumpkin spiced latte). I was at that age able to consume three or four large lattes within a few hours. How I have not yet developed diabetes remains a medical mystery. I am sure there are quite a few doctors out there who would love to run some experiments on me, and should I ever become curious enough, I might just let them.
My love for actual coffee (and I will elaborate on just what that means in a bit) started in college. It was not sudden, and it was most certainly not a matter of taste. It actually happened as a time constraint. The Northern Lights Cafe at UCLA is right next to the English building. Actually, there are several English buildings. It is closest to one of them, and close enough to the rest. As I have always had a penchant for taking far too many classes, I never had quite enough time. The lines were long, and I was in constant state of coming and going. I quickly realized ordering plain coffee was far quicker than waiting for carmel macchiatos, cappuccinos, lattes, or any other caffeinated concoctions. Not to mention the Norther Lights, as wonderful as it was, did not rival Starbucks, and left me slightly disappointed each time I ordered any fancy sounding drinks. So black coffee it was. It was bitter, and frankly made me twitch a bit more than I cared for.
I experimented with the black coffee a bit each time. Added some sugar. Then some milk. Then some more sugar. I even got as adventurous as adding cinnamon once. After much practice (and at the rate of coffee I was drinking, this only took about three days), I perfected the cup of black coffee. One large coffee. Five splendas. A dash of vanilla (should there be any available). And about two inches of half and half. I was at this point drinking six to eight such cups a day. I was consequently getting no sleep, but very high grades. Also, people may have thought I was on crack. For the record, I was not.
Almost a decade has passed (maybe more?), and I have tweaked the perfect cup of coffee. Although most people are still unable to enjoy regular coffee the way I do (read: nobody can actually drink from my cup), I have managed to tone it down a bit. I now only add three splendas.
And I am down to four cups per day.