Monday, July 31, 2006


At 9:10AM in the office today, chaos and pandemonium reigns. The reason? There is no coffee. We've had some false alarms in the past week, staved off at the last moment by the discovery of some grounds tucked away in a corner of the kitchen. Today, though, no such relief comes. Angry mutterings and uncharacteristically violent phrases now waft through the halls. Some people are demanding vengeance, others are focused on finding a solution to the problem, and still others combine the two impulses.

"Go beat up Sheila. Tell Sheila she needs to drive over to Starbucks."

I'm not really a part of this. I don't drink coffee... well, I have drunk it occasionally in the past, but never more than a cup a week, and I haven't had any in over a year. I'm not really opposed to it, but behavior like this makes me somewhat hesitant to start drinking it now.

For a long time I deliberately held off drinking coffee. In high school I had this idea that at college I would need tons of caffeine to stay awake for the inevitable all-nighters. I knew from school that the effect of a drug diminishes as your body becomes accustomed to it, so I wanted to hold back on it for as long as possible so I would get the maximum kick when I finally tapped it.

When I got to college, though, I never did turn to coffee. Massive quantities of Sprite kept me well caffeinated, and were much tastier. I always sort of mentally kept it in reserve, kind of a neutron bomb of energy that I knew was available but hoped I wouldn't need to use.

"We're taking a helicopter to pick up some coffee."

The one time I did use it - wow. I had to drive from St. Louis to Kansas City to tour some apartments after I accepted the Cerner position. To get there in time I needed to leave at 5AM; since this was when I was at college, that meant I had about 3 hours of sleep the night before. Planning ahead, I bought some of those little cold coffee drink things, and chugged one right before getting in the car. One was enough. I drove wide-eyed the five hours on I-70, feeling more awake than I had all week.

Other than that one experience, I largely abstained. At Rainbow Mennonite I would typically take a small styrofoam cup of coffee and a donut during the fellowship time, but that was really more out of a desire to socialize than anything. Not being experienced with hot coffee, it took me several months to realize it wasn't normal for people to burn their tongues so badly, and I learned how to actually sip coffee instead of gulp it down.

These days I'm actually more or less caffeine-free... I rarely drink soda any more either, and while I enjoy it with the odd fast food meal, I don't really miss it that much. Really, this is all just evidence of how boring my life has become, I guess. I no longer stay up super-late doing crazy things with friends, so I go to bed at a normal hour, fall asleep soon, and wake up essentially refreshed and ready to go. I'd gladly turn to coffee if I needed it, but since I don't, I'll just sit here in my cube and smile quietly while the flagellation continues outside.

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