Steve’s Masochistic Coffee Quitting Experiment – Day 2


So I have my first confession to make – I’m fully hyped for the quitting as I said, and am greatly enjoying the unique perspective and opportunities for in-depth analysis of addictive behaviors that it affords. It’s just that I’m having a liiiitle trouble with some of the finer details of the process; specifically, the part about not drinking the coffee.

But in my defense, when I said that tomorrow was day one of the quittin’, I didn’t realise that ‘tomorrow’ was Christmas Day! I mean come on – it’s Christmas Day! Jesus and the 15 apostles or whatever would be totally pissed at me if I went and did something so mean to myself as quitting coffee on Christmas Day! And…you know…god gave us the coffee and why would he do that if he didn’t want us to drink it? Huh? Huh? Answer me that.

I’m sounding desperate even to myself now. But in all seriousness, 1.5 seconds after I awoke this morning, when my mind turned to the question of where to get coffee as it always does, I did begin to hear a string of excuses from my brain: “Well, the posts are a day behind, so tomorrow’s actually the real quitting day; Really, I need to drink coffee today so that I can write about how much I love it accurately…it’s legitimate research; I’ll just have coffee today so I can really savor my last ever coffee drinking experience, I didn’t really fully savor it yesterday; I need to drink coffee today in case there are withdrawal symptoms that begin in the first 24 hours…I wasn’t looking for those yesterday so would have missed them…it’s legitimate research.” etc. etc.

Then came: “It’s Christmas, so I can’t quit”, which is so bazaar and out of character for me that when I heard it in my head, I actually laughed out loud. But then wait a minute…I heard this in my head… Just what exactly the fuck is going on here!? Who’s running this show anyway, and why do I have to fight my own brain on this? Am I losing my mind? And!, as if this is not disturbing enough, all this is happening before the time I normally have my morning coffee! I can only imagine the shit my brain’s gonna try to pull on the morning of day two – I’m watching you brain.

Yesterday, before my brian turned me into a full-blown batshit head case, the predominant feeling I was experiencing about having to give up coffee was an odd sort of melancholy. It’s been a friend to me for so long. A part of my life. A big part actually. I look forward to it every day. It’s social. I’ve made friends with a string of barristas. And I really do enjoy the experience. In fact, I love coffee. I LOVE it. I love the smell, the taste, and the warm comfort it provides on a winter’s day. I love sitting in coffee shops, going to coffee shops, finding good coffee shops, and telling people about good coffee shops I’ve found. Perversely, I also secretly enjoy having terrible coffee because I then get to complain loudly about how awful it truly was and so point out what an aficionado I am about coffee. I just love everything about it. To say I’m feeling apprehensive about letting all that go is a grand understatement. People try to console me with, “It’s OK, you can still have decaf…and there’s always tea!”, but they don’t understand…it’s just not the same. And so it appears that, as with all good addictions, it’s very much an emotional addiction as well as a physical one.

Even more disturbing to me is that recently, I’ve noticed that as soon as I have coffee, I can write! The sentences come. They flow. And the melody of the words – They sing!1 Without coffee they all seem out of tune, slow, sluggish, lack luster. And it’s not just me! There are hundreds quotes from writers singing the praises of coffee (466 of them on Goodreads alone). How do you think Tolstoy wrote War and Peace? You can’t tell me he did that shit without coffee.2 See for yourself:

“Should I kill myself, or have a cup of coffee?” – Albert Camus

“Coffee is a way of stealing time that should by rights belong to your older self.” – Terry Pratchett. 3

“Even bad coffee is better than no coffee at all.” – David Lynch

“I don’t know where my ideas come from. I will admit, however, that one key ingredient is caffeine. I get a couple cups of coffee into me and weird things just start to happen.” – Gary Larson

“I asked the girl at the coffee shop out on a date. Unfortunately she said no, probably because I asked her out to coffee.” – Jarod Kintz 4

“Fueled by my inspiration, I ran across the room to steal the cup of coffee the bookshelf had taken prisoner. Lapping the black watery brew like a hyena, I tossed the empty cup aside. I then returned to the chair to continue my divine act of creation. Hot blood swished in my head as my mighty pen stole across the page.” – Roman Payne

I could go on. And on. And on and on and on… but you get the idea.

And so, in the interests of science, I must apply objectivity and transparent honesty and say to you, as a semi-normal, but flawed human being; one struggling in the grip of addiction – today I have failed to quit drinking coffee.

But tomorrow I will try again…and I will succeed!

  1. To me they do anyway, and isn’t it the same with other drugs? When you’re drunk you think you’re funny, sexy witty etc., but in reality your IQ and ability to think coherently have dropped significantly, along with your judgement of what’s appropriate and what’s not. Fortunately, one’s audience is similarly impaired, so it all works out fine in the end. So my point is (and yes I have been drinking coffee), maybe I just think my writing’s better, when in actual fact all that’s happening is that words are pouring out faster. But as a case in point, I’ve just written half this post in 25 minutes on one cup of coffee, which is more productive by an order of three than I was last night, when I spent half my time staring at the screen and the rest of it alternatively writing and deleting text. 
  2. Actually I haven’t read War and Peace – it’s supposed to be OK. I haven’t read Ulysses either, though I own a copy; and given that life is short, I probably won’t get to it. These days I spend my time reading books I like, rather than books I’m supposed to have read. 
  3. I’m just gonna come right out and say I’m not too sure what the heck this means, but as it’s irrefutable that Terry is a genius, I’m trusting that when I’m a better writer I’ll understand. 
  4. I’m aware that this one doesn’t support my argument at all, but as it’s hilarious I stuck it in anyway. 

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