After a full month of not drinking caffeine I've just been and had my first coffee - a tasty, bitter black Americano. Relishing the first, piping-hot sip in slow motion, I sat down to chat to a colleague about existential copywriter stuff and what stuff means and stuff.
Twenty minutes into our chat (two thirds of the way through my now tepid but still heavenly cup of brown) I realised that I'd gone into 6th gear. It wasn't a chat at all but a fairly one-sided discourse about, frankly, god knows what. Wow, I missed you, coffee. It was like the scene in that film Limitless where Bradley Cooper's character takes a clear pill and his brain starts functioning at 100% capacity and the ashen-grey surroundings of his failed and depressing existence suddenly start dripping with golden light and clean air and each of his senses rises to crescendo.
Every word I uttered and every idea made perfect sense - fluid and coherent. And I wanted to move around, to cross and uncross my legs like Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct (did you know she was given the role only after 13 other actresses had rejected it? See, before I had a cup of coffee I didn't know that and now I do). And rather than cartwheel around the office and chew my colleagues' ears off about senseless shit just because I was enjoying the dulcet tones of my luscious caffeine breath, I thought I'd do the first thing Bradley Cooper does in the film. No, silly, not write a law paper and fuck my landlord's wife. The bit after that where he sits at the computer and types the novel he's been constipated with for months and months. So here it is. It's not a novel, but it's words I feel inclined to pump out about what I discovered from a month without caffeine.
Never again. Think how productive I could have been had I had that coffee every morning and every afternoon for the last 31 days! I'd probably have been promoted to Head of Copy. Maybe even CEO if it had been three coffees a day. But no, I spent the first week or two wiping out whole communities of Sour Patch Kids to stop myself from falling into a narcoleptic trance while working out other ways to keep myself energised that weren't going to result in diabetes.
Exercise was actually - and by a long way - the best way to achieve this. A long swim after a long day left me feeling enlivened all the way home. Flaky skin, hair everywhere, blazing red chlorine eyes and sexy goggle marks. I didn't give a shit. I was naturally invigorated - like having a coffee but smugger and minus the craving for a cigarette as accompaniment. Yeah, exercise is a really good way of making you feel less tired, until you finally, inevitably overeat half-price sushi washed down with a glass of red and fall asleep anywhere that isn't bed.
As I mentioned before, your body starts going "hey, I can't move all these dumb limbs and appendages at the same time AND let your brain do its normal job without some kind of stimulant. What've you got for me?" When it's not caffeine. It's sugar. For me it was anyway. Bags and bags of sugar. I did also try substituting caffeine with kale but, surprisingly, no.
It's only a matter of time before Starbucks sell Kale-uccinos©
***I actually feel a bit wired now. I hope I'm not gurning. This feels amazing. I wonder what will happen if I go down to the café and top myself up with a triple espresso. Might I die? Will the baristas refuse to serve me because my eyes are already pointing outwards and I'm talking at 340 bpm?
"Sorry, sir, what did you say you wanted?"
"Um, ok. What name shall I write on your cup"
"Sir, I think you should leave."
Maybe I should walk home to shake this off.
Anyway, what other useless things did I learn?
1) A kale and pistachio blend is no substitute for a flat white even if it is served in the same cup.
2) You can tell decaf coffee by the sight and smell alone. Don't even think you can trick me with that sludge.
3) Even though every sense is dulled without caffeine in the morning, your awareness of people's misery becomes more acute when you're being droved like pigs into the tube at 8am.
4) Brunch without coffee is just food on a plate.
5) Redbush/Roibos tea is a waste of boiled water.
6) I love coffee.
There you are: 750 words in 45 seconds flat. Coffee is good.