Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Caffeineation Nation

I've been trying to avoid afternoon caffeine. I have a glass of caffeinated Irish Breakfast tea pretty much every morning, although not necessarily on weekends. Irish Breakfast is "assam" tea rather than orange pekoe, which is the default black tea. Assam tea has a completely different taste and smell which I find satisfying and compelling. I tolerate "floor sweepings orange pekoe" when required just as coffee drinkers who need soME COFFEE will drink whatever's been sitting on the percolator. We'll bitch a little, but we'll drink it and be glad to have it.

Aside from that I try to avoid caffeine. I used to think it didn't affect me but I was wrong. Really wrong. And now I think it affects me even more. For some reason the tea doesn't usually make me feel weird, but soda supercharges things. Remember how I got all happy about that pomegranate RockStar where they did half "sugar" half fake sugar and I didn't get crazy amounts of bad aftertaste? I can't drink it anymore - or at least I can't have more than about 4 oz at a time and it comes in 16 oz cans so I pretty much can't drink it anymore. Because it makes me crazy. I don't know if it's the caffeine or the fake sugar or the red dye but the last time I had some, I thought I was going to have a breakdown. I think I scared my boss and in the interests of staying employed, I have stayed off the RockStar sauce.

Back in Boston, I was down to one soda a week, if that. Out in CA, not only is soda more plentiful, they have Dr. Pepper routinely on tap. Every time I hold my cup under that Dr. Pepper tap I think about how hard it must be to quit smoking. I love Dr. Pepper. I did decide that my tendency had shifted more toward 2 large sodas a week in CA - enough to make me too fat - and that I should cut back to one again. I've pretty well done that but the downside is that I have no caffeine tolerance now. I think I would be more functional after a Sam's seasonal.

My head has been swimming all afternoon and it doesn't feel like a sleep issue but a chemical problem. I can focus if I have to, but then standing up suddenly isn't so great either. And now I know that while I could still nap right away, by the time the caffeine is either old or deconstructed, I'll be in a hyper-manic, easily distractable frame of mind and forget all about the late-day caffeine. So I'll probably be surfing the interwebs late into the night until I remember that a dose of allergy meds will knock out the caffeine and allow me to sleep like I ought to. Ugh! Why do I do this to myself? Oh, right. Dr. Pepper is tasty and it was right in front of me! Impulse control has never really been my strong suit; I really identified with that poor villainous fool from Snow Crash.


suzieb said...

Seriously, Erika? Total orange pekoe character assassination. Tea Elitist! I love tea and rejoice in all it's rich and beautiful colors and variations. Open your heart and your palate - embrace the nuances of all the types and hues of tea.

(Oh, except green. That stuff is just nasty)

Anonymous said...

dear SuzieB don't be a green tea hater. You should try Salada Green tea which is very lovely.... not at all like pencil shavings that have been brewed in an old handbag from the Goodwill.

cheers, Lorraine

CrankyOtter said...

Too funny!
If no assam is to be had, I have the floor sweepings for breakfast tea. Generally, I then have pencil shavings for afternoon tea. I could have better afternoon tea but it would cost more and all green tea is iffy in my book, so I may as well take the free stuff at work. Except today, I had Tazo Zen. I like that pretty well.

I used to drink all tea indiscriminately and have been getting more and more picky. I did survive a whole week in greece with nothing but full caffeine "Lipton Yellow Label", which as near as I can tell is the only tea they have there. It's ok.

Junior and Orion said...

Oh the delightful Dr. Pepper. I grew up drinking DP...and still love it. I too am trying to cut back....but it is so hard. Interestingly enough, I find I can't stand the stuff in cans, but can drink from the "taps" like there is no tomorrow.