I’m getting too lean… Living so clean…
Fresh air and carrots are making me mean… I’m acting too damn nice….
I need a vice….
David Wilcox I Need A Vice
We all have had our bad habits or things we’ve loved but we know weren’t good for you and, sooner or later, you had to go on without them.
I was a pack a day smoker for many years before quitting almost 30 years ago. I slowly eliminated pork and red meat from my diet. Even though I never had a problem with it, I stopped drinking alcohol of any kind several years ago. I’ve tried to stick to a healthy regimen of diet and exercise. It may sound incredibly boring and flaky to some of you, but, yes, I do feel better. But there was one thing I could not do without…and I would never thought I had to give up.
I love coffee. Nothing better than a nice, big cup of dark roasted coffee with a little cream. To me, the initial, pleasurable taste of that first sip, each one after that, the permeation of the caffeine as it worked its way through your bloodstream and the lingering feeling afterwards was intoxicating and oh, so satisfying. It was also just straight up coffee…no designer lattes or frappe mocha whipped frosted chinos for me. The darker and stronger the coffee, the better. French press was my preferred method of brewing.
During my days in morning radio, I would go through almost an entire pot each shift. Now, doing morning television, I went through four to five cups a day. But the time I would enjoy it most was sitting on a
deck, either at home or away, on a sunny, warm morning or clear, warm evening just before sunset.
True, I knew all that caffeine was probably not good, despite conflicting studies that, one day, would warn of the dangers of too much java, only to be followed by another one praising the health benefits of daily consumption. It never mattered to me…I just needed to have coffee every day. I have probably been in every Starbucks location in and around the Metro Vancouver area at one time or another. I have gone into locations where the servers would say “Didn’t I see you at another store a while ago?”
And yes…I do have a Starbucks gold card.
I called it my last vice. I had given up pretty much everything else, but I would always have my daily grind.
That is, until last week.
During my annual medical check up last week, I told my doctor I had been experiencing some slight pangs and felt like my heart was skipping beats. Nothing too drastic, but concerning none the less. “How much coffee do you drink?” she asked.
About four or five cups a day, I answered. Now, those aren’t exactly standard medical cup sizes. We’re talking tall or grandes at best.
I should have known what she would say next… “Well, I think you have to stop, or switch to decaf.”
What? My last vice? You’re taking THAT away now? But it’s different. I chose to get rid of the other stuff! I want my coffee! Really?! I mean, when I was smoking, I used to know people who would only smoke on weekends or occasionally. Can’t I be one of those coffee drinkers?
Not really, Like smoking, I either smoked a pack a day or I didn’t smoke at all. There is no such thing as ‘occasional.’
When it comes down to it, the risk to my continued healthy lifestyle is far greater if I hang on to one of the last vessels of satisfaction in my life. Besides, decaf isn’t so bad…is it?
Well, it’s been a couple of weeks….the taste is about the same and, yes, there are many good quality decaf coffees you can find that are favourable, but it’s not quite the same.
So, goodbye full strength coffee. You gave me many mornings and evenings of pleasure. I’m sure your wimpy cousin decaf will do what they can, but it will never be the same.