My brother is convinced that he will outlive the rest of my family because he doesn’t drink coffee. I know I mentioned this last week but it’s worth reiterating. There is also substantial-though-unproven evidence floating around the Internet and brick and mortar juice bars citywide that suggest coffee is a poison our bodies have been conditioned to process. But for every naysayer, there is an advocate vetting in favor of the third-party stimulant.
Embarrassingly, for a minute back in January, I almost agreed with the former conjectures. So much so that I wrote a story about it. It was only a matter of two or three weeks before I was back on the hamster wheel that is caffeine addiction and I wondered why I ever went off coffee in the first place, which clearly, I forgot about because last week, I suggested something really stupid to Amelia. Something dumber than the time I suggested we shave each other’s heads and use our hair as reverse wigs.
A coffee cleanse.
I was half-kidding when I said it but when she looked at me like a pissed off rodent, I thought to myself, self, do it for the story. So, from Tuesday of last week until as recently as this morning, neither of us have consumed coffee. Well, that’s not entirely true, but we’ve tried not to consume coffee. We’ve also ruled out tea and have resorted to mornings of extensive hot water with lemon, chiefly to satisfy an oral fixation.
And here is probably where, one week in, you might imagine I fancy myself a natural energy evangelist but last Thursday around 3pm, a friend of mine, henceforth to be called Angel Grip, brought me an iced coffee with almond milk and I drank it. And it felt incredible.
I didn’t want to but I absolutely felt like it was my duty. After all, he came by! Holding an iced drink! Cut with almond milk! Well knowing I hate dairy milk! For me! So, I did, and you know what? I turned into a machine. A machine with capabilities that far exceeded the ones I had been demonstrating all week.
And not just that, I got happy. I know, I know, caffeine highs are a very real thing but if they work every time, why deprive yourself of the controversially false giggles?
I should note that not drinking coffee didn’t give me headaches or any of the withdrawal symptoms I’d read about. I couldn’t determine whether the bags under my eyes, which were supposed to go away actually did go away (I’m going with nahzzzz). I also wasn’t as hungry (one time I read that when you feel hungry after drinking a coffee what you’re actually experiencing is a withdrawal symptom) but what’s wrong with hunger?
And, fine, I did sleep better at night. My head hit the pillow and it was off to Snoozeville for me almost immediately. It’s just, the cons far outweighed the pros, which have left me to conclude that if ever you are feeling like coffee hasn’t been doing you well, go off of it for a week, if only to remind yourself that it is your sister — biological or not. It is your favorite cousin from Michigan. It is your mother, it is your baby nurse, and it needs you as much as you need it.
Also, though, drink a lot of water. This is non-negotiable.
Not drinking coffee for multiple consecutive days, on purpose, is probably one of the top three dumbest things Leandra has ever gotten us into. The first was the time we bought pet roosters. The second was the time she sat on my shoulders and we put an enormous trench coat over us and pretended to be a human totem pole. This was so much worse.
Without coffee I was basically a mildly-functioning baby slug with zero social or motor skills. Everything was hard. Hands suddenly made for terrible typing utensils. I’d forgot to bend my knees. Words seemed longer than they ever had before — even longer than the time we drank tequila all day instead of water. My head pounded. I had a non-alcohol induced, mid-day hangover for three days and it was absolute hell.
By Wednesday I turned a bit of a corner. I didn’t foam any Rabies from the mouth when Leandra suggested we get our thousandth hot water with lemon, and I was actually crossing things off the to-do list. I fell asleep pleasantly at 10:30 PM, whereas my normal bed time is typically a very awful 2 AM.
But on Thursday AM, the phantom hangover hit again. This is what withdrawal feels like, I thought.
Around my thousandth yawn a miracle happened. Leandra’s angel of a friend brought us iced coffees so I found a beer funnel and chugged it. From there, I turned into Jordan Belfort on coke. I mean I was getting everything done. And I had SO many ideas. I made phone calls, wrote five stories, went grocery shopping and learned a new language all in like, one hour.
On Friday I vowed to be “good” again. No coffee; back to being Amelia the Dying Toad. But Saturday and Sunday brought a whole new set of challenges, aka: real hangovers, so I cheated. Twice.
Monday was my last chance to redeem myself. It was a little bit easier considering I wake up most Mondays with a violent case of anxiety, only instead of exacerbating said anxiety with heart palpitations from coffee, I sort of grumpily eased into my day. Around noon I was able to form polite sentences! Then by 2 PM, I think I really did die. This is my ghost writing currently (using Siri to type since ghosts don’t have appendages), and my only conclusion from this awful experiment is that no coffee, whatever the health benefits, is just not for me.