I’ve been a decaffeinated coffee drinker for years. I made the switch in college, when I went to my private piano session one fateful day (I was a serious music student) to take an important “test” only to have to start over a few times because my hands were shaky. My piano professor whom I admired greatly Dr. Esther Saxon, knew something was awry. She knew ME. She’d been amazed (and I’m sure quite pleased) at my determination to dive into an art form though I was extremely late to the party. She’d seen me make incredible strides and overcome great obstacles as I struggled to make my too-old-at-twenty-five-to-just-now-start-to-learn-this-skill hands produce anything other than a cacophony of missed notes and rhythms. Let’s just say I was the BEST.BEGINNER.EVER.
The culprit? Caffeine. I’d been to Marvelous Muffins on Shelter Island Drive in San Diego and guzzled down a jumbo flavored coffee that morning. When Dr. Saxon scribbled out a 9 out of 10 or some such nonsense for my test score, I decided in that instant I’d have to give up the stuff STAT if I ever wanted to master jazz piano and become the first Diana Krall (this was before she was plucking out standards for anyone really – dammit. “I could’ve been a contender!!!”).
I’ll get to my anecdote in a moment, but not before this true confession: I still backslide into the evils of regular coffee now and again on occasion. Oh sure, I quit the stuff cold turkey and slept for days, but in truth, it is my penchant for flavored (Creme Brûlée, my all time favorite) coffee that has kept me steadily weaning myself off the leaded stuff for years now. Just try to find a coffee house that actually brews flavored coffee, much less decaf. I dare you. So, whenever I find a place with flavored coffee, I order decaf with a “splash of flavor.”
When I realized I could brew the stuff on my own at home, I began to reserve the occasional indulgence in the real stuff for those times when I NEED TO STAY AWAKE or when — how shall I put this? I need work on my plumbing. You know… the pipes cleaned? The caffeine in coffee is a powerful – uh – laxative.
Healthy, I know. We all have our vices.
Then, yesterday, M.C. Nugget and I had to wake up at 4:30 AM to catch our 7 AM flight to Boston. We went to bed around 11:30 PM. I was already exhausted from teaching Pilates Plus classes before dawn that day and worried how I would make it. Before we went to bed and coffees were being made (Nuggie is a fully-leaded kinda fella), I decided to forgo mine and drink his coffee in the morning.
YOU GUYS! I DRANK TWO LARGE FULLY CHARGED, CAFFEINATED CUPS OF JOE.
COUNT EM. TWO.
The rest of the early morning drudge moved surprisingly quickly.
Once we boarded, I snuck off to the bathroom before take off.
An aside you should know: I channel my best mommy any time I am in a public restroom. You’ll see me wiping down the counter with dry paper towels after washing my hands, leaving the entire space sparkling for the next person. I know I shouldn’t bother, because god knows no one else seems to care – particularly women, who seem to use public restrooms as the one place on earth they can unleash every disgusting habit known to mankind. (I know this having worked in restaurants and bars, and seen the evidence first hand. Women’s bathrooms are WAY more disgusting than men’s).
When I stepped into the claustrophobic lavatory my cute slide shoes stuck to and peeled off the floor with that annoying suction sound. I looked down thinking the airline’s ground crew had forgotten to clean the floor, but no. It looked perfectly clean.
As I was washing my hands and about to wipe down the entire stainless steel sink area, I looked at the damp paper towel. I looked at the floor.
I grabbed a couple more paper towels, added water and dropped them on the tiny floor. I took my cute slide and I slid the paper towels around, cleaning the sticky floor. I grabbed a handful of dry paper towels, grabbed the wet and dirty towels and wiped the bottoms of my shoes off. I dried everything off for good measure.
I slinked back to my seat rather proud f myself, and announced to Nuggie what I’d done. I speedily chattered away, happy as a seagull with a mouth full of fish, until I said,
“Of course, I’m a little of hyped up on coffee.”
He looked at me with what I thought was his “I’ve been betrayed” look. Like I’d withheld a secret, frenzied, clean-freak part of my personality from him and our happy home. Then he said,
“I think it’s time for you to switch back to the real thing.”
THIS prompts such posts as this on facebook (if you can’t see it below, click here):