dark, dark caffeine cold turkey
Thursday, May 2 2013
For some reason I decided that today was going to be the day that I would try going cold turkey on caffeine. Since my only source of caffeine on most days is black tea, this meant that the only tea I prepared myself today was peppermint. As usual for such attempts at abstinence, my body didn't much notice until some time this afternoon, when headaches began to set in. Gradually I found myself becoming increasingly useless and pathetic, to the point where I couldn't even sit comfortably in a chair. All I wanted to do was lie down. On a day such as this, the only activity that makes sense is watching television. Sarah Poiron had suggested that I watch the post-apocalyptic series entitled Revolution, just so I could confirm for her a theory she had that it is deliberate NRA propaganda. So I downloaded the first few episodes using Bittorrent and started watching them. At first it seemed promising; I mean, who doesn't love depictions of a world where the essentials of modernity have broken down? Indeed, Revolution has gorgeous set design, with ivy-covered street signs, permanently-flooded neighborhoods, suburban cul-de-sacs repurposed as crude animal pens, and crumbling landmarks. But the show is otherwise unwatchable. Its awkward pacing edits out most of what happens in the characters' lives except sword fights, capture scenes, and escape scenes. It doesn't take many episodes before you realize that there is no real plot development happening; it's all just churn between captivity and freedom amongst the main characters. The bad guys are all comic-book evil and the good-guys are all swashbuckling heros (though the character Miles Matheson, whose surly wisecracking competence is a complete rip-off of Hans Solo, is similarly saddled with a dark Soloian past). This makes Revolution something of an anachronism in today's more nuanced television paradigm. Given all the monotonous scenes of violence, capture, and escape, and the complete absence of sexual dynamics, Revolution seems as if it were created by eleven year old boys playing with action figures in a sandbox. It really is that bad. And Sarah was right, its only message appears to be a repulsively infantile one: that the freedom to bear arms is the only freedom that matters. But still I watched it, because trying to download something else was too cognitively challenging given the absence of caffeine in my brain.
Meanwhile outside it was a beautiful day, and it seemed like a waste to be spending it indoors. Despite my low levels of energy, I managed to move most of the Black Locust firewood I'd split off the lawn and into the woodshed, thereby allowing the exuberant grass it had been covering to grow. But when I tried to lie in the sun, it was too hot, so eventually I found my way down to the greenhouse, where conditions were perfect. I lay down on the futon and quickly fell asleep. Taking naps is an especially easy thing to do when one is withdrawing from caffeine.
In addition to the headaches (which I treated with Ibuprofen) and the lethargy, there were unpleasant cognitive effects. I experienced an overall sense of uselessness and incompetence, some of which was a hangover from the miserable particulars of yesterday. I found myself wondering if I really had any special talents in any fields and whether I had brought any real value to the world at all. I'm telling you, caffeine withdrawal will take you to some dark, dark places. I probably shouldn't have decided to go cold turkey from caffeine after a day like yesterday.
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