So, I apparently did a crazy thing.
A few weeks ago I got slammed with a brutal respiratory virus in the chest and sinus, and because it was not a bacterial thing and could not be treated with antibiotics, I was told that all I could do was ride it out.
Two of the symptoms were bad headaches and extreme exhaustion.
Now, incidentally, I’ve had daily coffee habits in the past, I’ve quit, I’ve fallen off the wagon, I’ve quit, I’ve started again, as the typical cycle goes.
Out of the blue, the thought occurred to me: Hmmmm. Courtesy of the virus, I’ve already got headaches like the ones I get when I go through caffeine withdrawal, and the last thing I want when I’m bed-ridden is to be extremely exhausted by a virus, but unable to fall asleep because I’ve had coffee! You know what?! I might as well quit coffee!
Here in Bellingham, well, pretty much the entire Pacific Northwest, coffee is practically a religion. To the Japanese, drinking tea is a spiritual practice. Here, I suppose you could say that visiting the drive-thru espresso stands every morning is like going to church.
So, two funny things happen when I tell people about my virus-induced coffee cold turkey.
- Half the people think I’m crazy to voluntarily put myself through that.
- When I tell the other half, there’s this awkward silence as they start thinking to themselves about their own coffee addiction and wonder if I’m being judgmental, thinking I’m superior to them now that I’ve quit.
Come to think of it, there’s nothing at all funny about that, and now I’ve gone ahead and used the word addiction for the first time in this post, a term guaranteed to weigh a topic down.
Throwing around the word addiction is a very tricky matter. You’ll never hear me argue that an alcoholic who is self-destructing and hurting other people left and right doesn’t need to accept that they are an addict and start walking the steps. And yet, to borrow a line from Thoreau, what about the mass of people leading lives of quiet desperation, habitually using coffee, sugar, shopping, television, etc.? And what about the millions of people who are addicted to activities that could have some actual health benefits, like exercise? Did you know that long distance runners often experience diminished sex drives?
It’s just too depressing to think that most people in the world are addicts, so where exactly do you draw the line?
It just so happens that, up until a few months ago, I had another daily habit. For 9 years straight I rode my bicycle to and from work, rain or shine. A mild injury caused me to stop for a while, so I started to ride the bus mostly, and even drove the car occasionally.
Well, ever since I got over this recent virus, I’m back on the bike.
I’m such a hopeless addict.