Hi, I'm Jason, and I thought I was an addict.
You see, I've been drinking since I was about 13. Sure the times I actually had a cup in my teens were few and far between; but I can remember my first cappuccino. We had just discovered coffee shops and there was a great one in McAllen called 'Kafecitos' (translation: little cups of coffee, pretty good name). I went with some friends after school one Friday evening after we caught a movie at Cinemark. It was smooth, creamy, and just the right temperature. I was hooked. It didn't make me talk or drive faster, but it did entice me to buy another.
In college, things got kicked up a notch. All-nighters in my architecture studios, late-night studying, killer IHOP breakfasts, rendezvous with the few ladies in my life; all momentous occasions for a cup of jo. The slight mustard tint on my teeth was minimal compared to joy in my heart. I didn't become a speed reader because I'd had 3 cups of coffee, and I never felt moments of anxiety because of the caffeine. No, it was because I needed to get an 'A' on the final in order to pass Ancient Architectural History.
Next came my first (and hopefully my last) corporate job, where the coffee came in packages colored orange and green to correspond to the similarly colored pots. It was brewed every morning, on all 30 floors of the tower, and it was the first time I could see through the coffee. It was like someone had ringed their sweaty sock into a pot and set it to simmer; yet I drank it 2-3 times a week. There was a Starbucks on the lower-level that kept me believing.
Then came grad school. Not only was there a Starbucks close to school, but there were also 3 Dunkin' Donut locations on my route. At a time when DD was voted Best Coffee in the U.S, it was nice to be part of the political process. I would visit the polling station about once a week.
But in all my caffeinated experiences, I never felt like my life revolved coffee. I was never looking for the next hit. Sure we might have planned an early-morning departure time for a road trip based on the location of Starbucks, but I would have been just fine without it...right?
And here's why.
Coffee has always been a leisure experience for me. It goes great with an IHOP short stack. It's perfect for a late night designing a website. And it compliments great conversation with a loved one. At my current job, the coffee gets brewed every morning, regular as well as a flavored version. And it's good. And it's one of our, er, perks. So I take advantage. I mean, why not? It's there, I like it, it's the morning, and I just might be designing a website that day. All of a sudden, I'm drinking it 5 days a week. And it's become part of the routine. Brush, clothe, train ride, email, coffee. What happened to the experience?
One morning I drove in to the office to prep for a presentation, and I stopped at a Starbucks for my morning experience. So when the barista told me she had accidentally added an extra shot (that meant 3) to my Venti Hazelnut Latte, I said it was no big deal. That was not the correct answer. My mind was spinning circles around my weekly assignments. My conscience sounding like the Micro Machines guy, but on the outside I was still me. It was anxiety. Sure things have been pretty hectic at work and my creative juices seem uninterested without our Creative Director around, but I've never been prone to anxiety. And all it took was a 3rd shot of espresso to do me in.
Now, you can come to your own conclusions of course; but I blame espresso. Excess caffeine, which I get from coffee. So I stopped. Caffeine from sodas only, one a day because I don't want the headaches to return. You probably know what I'm talking about. And since then, things have been well. No 'Trainspotting' acts of withdrawal. No unnecessary spending of $4 anxiety attacks. Just, me, my co-workers, my family, and the leisurely experiences that come with them.