The Caffeine Diaries

If there’s one thing that nearly all students will occasionally turn to in a time of need, it’s caffeine.

As essays and exams loom in the near-future more and more of us student-types turn to the stimulant in one of its many forms. You practically have to if you want to survive November with grades intact.

There are the seasonal, pragmatic drinkers who only open a Red Bull during crunch time, but otherwise tend to avoid the stuff. Then there are folks like me who are practically always wired on something.

You can blame my parents for giving  me access at a young age to such addictive beverages, but I tend to blame the beverages themselves for being so delicious. Growing up I found that I’m part of a rare breed that not only enjoys the taste of coffee, but prefers it black.

However, this November I’ve entered myself into an even rarer segment of society—those who are actually reducing their caffeine intake at all costs. Not in some alternative approach to better prepare for the work I have ahead of me, but because I was drinking way too much.

Thanks to the cheap coffee at Sadleir House and the free coffee at home and Trent Radio, I found myself guzzling five to six cups per day, which doesn’t include my daily Pepsi(s).

That’s when I bothered counting. Other days I would wake up after a morning caffeine bender at about 3pm, shaking and restless, with 15 half-completed tasks on the go, mouth dry, but somehow still in need of another bathroom break. I decided enough was enough.

Since this brilliant decision I’ve been fighting a silent battle against headaches, irritability, moderate to extreme fatigue, and greatly increased appetite.

No one advertises their beautiful seaside resort by talking about the hours and hours of monotonous and bleak highway driving you’ll have to do to get there.

Similarly, no one mentions the withdrawal symptoms you’ll experience when you finally cut back on all that poison you’ve been relying on.

My friends have asked me if I’ve been having problems since I’ve either been staring off into space, not listening to anything they have to say, or going off on them for no reason.

All I want is a Pepsi. Just a Pepsi.

I haven’t even quit cold turkey, which is the worst part. I’m still on a healthy two cups a day.

But it’s a big drop, and my body is laughing at those two measly cups, as if they were supposed to actually do something for me.

The constant dull headaches that typify caffeine withdrawals are what I imagine to be the closest one can get to truly Satanic temptation. Neither water nor medicine has any effect on them.

The only escape that currently presents itself to me is a trip to the coffee pot for a third or fourth or fifth cup. Or how about that Pepsi?

Instead, I keep my eyes on this monotonous highway—clearly in a Red state because the infrastructure is outrageous—still miles away from that ocean. All of this is for the best.

About Pat Reddick 84 Articles
Pat was co-editor of Volume 49, along with Matt Rappolt. He's primarily interested in arts coverage, often editorializing on arts issues. He graduated from Trent with a Bachelor's degree in English Lit. Pat hosts or co-hosts several programs at Trent Radio, such as Media Are Plural. You can follow him on Twitter, or watch him eat through his kitchen window. In his spare time Pat reads a lot (q.v. English major), plays video games, and writes fiction. He has a blog or something but I couldn't find out too much about that.