I have a new nemesis.
His name is Jitters.
I was warned about him.
Boy is he a needy little prick.
And he is everywhere I go.
See, I used to drink coffee for years, back when I was in my heyday (the nineties). It became kind of a habit only in that I was convinced it was what you do when you are hungover to wake yourself up and feel better.
I realized, at one point, that coffee did not make me feel better; it just made me more aware of how awful I did feel.
You all know what it does to your insides.
So, it being the, seemingly, easiest vice in my arsenal to cease (I smoked cigarettes back then too) I decided to give it up.
I was being proactive.
I was taking care of myself.
I was trying to simplify my world, even then.
And it did free me up to explore the consistent world of tea drinking.
See, I can take a plastic baggie full of my favorite teas (Lyons, PG tips) and bring them anywhere in the world and, more often than not, the resulting beverage made will taste consistently good.
It was a lower dose of caffeine as well.
And it was just that--water, a tea bag, and a cup.
And that worked for almost ten years.
I now have a new monkey, and he is very persnickety.
He needs some sugar.
He needs some cream.
And he needs it put in before the coffee or--failing that--given a stirrer, so as to mix it all up.
He needs it to be as hot as possible.
And he needs a special ring of cardboard to hold the hottest beverage he can find, until he doesn't need it and the little ring ends up left in the cup holder which he also needs. And then, because it is so much taller than the usual tea-to-go cup he used to get, he needs to keep a hand on it when he goes around corners, and slows down, or speeds up, or does almost anything involving motion.
And he leaves a sticky, brown mess everywhere he goes.
He is a messy, messy, monkey.
I have said before that I keep a clean car.
That was before Jitters came my way.
Jitters has made it so that the dust that used to just fly around near the stick-shift now has a never ending landing pad.
And the worst part of it is ... I can't even begin to think about cleaning up the mess that has accrued over the last few weeks ... until I've had a coffee.
Yes, indeed, I'm hooked.
My life is no longer as simple as I have desired for so long.
That said, it is certainly not as bad as it used to be.
I'm still sober and will have been off the bottle for nine months as of Saturday.
I know. Yay!
But now I have a new package store to avoid, because coffee is available in, seemingly, every store that sells anything.
A lot of places it's even free.
I got my oil changed the other day ... there was free coffee.
I got a set of new tires (Pete's Tire Barn on N. King rocks the socks off of the competition, in case anybody local is in need) ... and there was free coffee.
But, you see, they had the coffee, but I didn't drink it.
I have standards, you see.
They had the cups.
They had the sugar.
But I'm not going to use the god damn non-dairy, powdered, creamer.
It's my line in the sand.
It's led me back to some strange and familiar places--this world of coffee.
McDonald's, for example.
I now go through the McDonald's drive-thru at least four times a week.
All I get is a coffee.
It's damn good coffee.
Let's talk about pennies for a minute.
Today I got my change from a large coffee with cream and two sugars ($1.98) which was two pennies.
They were new--so new, in fact, that I had to check the date.
It made me wonder about the state of the economy and how my two, new pennies fit in to it all.
Pennies get old-looking really quickly. You can almost see the oxidation happening as the oils from your fingers takes hold of the bright, orange glowing discs.
When I get a gift like two new pennies it makes me feel good.
In my family, whenever a present was given that entailed a small zippered or snapped pocket--wallet, purse, or bookbag--two shiny copper pennies would, without exception, be put into that pocket.
It was so consistent that in my going through all of the many bags and purses and wallets in Mattapoisett, I always check for the pennies--often I'll find them. Sometimes, that part of the purse or wallet was left unused except for the two pennies.
That's how I can tell when the gift was given--the date on the two pennies in the little pocket.
Even when I don't find any, I know that at some point, before more change was added to the pocket, that there were two shiny, new pennies.
It's a tradition that I keep alive in my adult life, and will encourage in my children, someday.
Tradition is everything.
And now I have two brand new pennies in my cup holder covered with monkey pee.
That damn Jitters.
So, anyway, it's been a crazy few days.
I'm still--if you can believe it--not back to normal from the week of pain med abuse.
I'm getting there. Perhaps by the end of the weekend I'll feel like myself.
In my many classes on substance abuse it is said that coffee and cigarettes are not a safe alternative to using drugs or alcohol. The counselors see the availability and encouragement of coffee and cigarettes at various twelve step programs as being quite ironic.
See, caffeine and nicotine keep the craving receptors open.
Like a flashing neon sign below your room as you detox that says, "Come on in ... we're open."
And in little letters on the front door it says ... "Monkeys Allowed."
Thanks for reading.
PS: Here's a picture of my aunt (age 21) taken at 1073 Bedford St. in the summer of 1969.
Thought you'd enjoy it.
Flower Power indeed.