This isn’t some new concoction from one of your favorite coffee establishments. This is the amount of liquid caffeine I consumed in one day to relieve me from my tired state last Wednesday. Big exam? Fear of flying? Couldn’t stay awake? None of these reasons fit the bill for my caffeine overload. The funny thing is: I’ve never been a coffee drinker. At my last full-time job, I was in awe of the frequency and voracity in which my coworkers chugged their multiple cups of coffee by 10am, while I stood by and drank my Red Bull.
I am becoming one of them! My caffeine threshold has increased dramatically and I hadn’t realized. My new addiction stems from the anxiety of being unemployed. Sure, I’ve had some freelance gigs here and there, but they have run out and I’m getting antsy. Yeah! And it’s evident with my new go-to-pick-me-ups! But, Red Bull you say. Why? I just love the taste. My BF thinks it smells and tastes like gasoline. Whatever! He smokes. You decide which is the lesser of the two evils. For me, Red Bull reminds me of the Cuban soda, Materva. It tastes like sweet little golden goodness in a 12 oz. can I was given – beginning at a young age to accompany the pork, rice and beans I was fed for most of my childhood. When I sip Red Bull, it immediately takes me back to festive birthdays, family gatherings and all-around, carefree good times sans the stresses of adult life. I just can’t have too much of the stuff, even though I want to. At work events, where the Red Bull was flowing aplenty, I once ingested two of these drinks in less than an hour and my heart started beating unusually fast. On another day, I bought its 12oz. older cousin, because I thought I had graduated into the “big-boy” energy drink league and, no, it wasn’t for me – or better yet, my body decided and rejected the extra 3.6 oz.; it wasn’t used to breaking down. I heeded my body’s advice and stuck to the regular 8.4 oz. can. But then I started drinking them every day because I discovered BJs. The price club warehouse that lets you buy large quantities of food and drink in bulk; Red Bull included. 48 little cans of deliciousness were stocked in my apartment. Every morning I’d wake up and reach for a red, silver and blue can. It would get me through – at least half the day – then I’d crash and feel sluggish. But, hey! Aren’t most people productive the first half of their day anyway?
I had managed to wean myself off of Red Bull because I stopped buying the cases in bulk. Who needs this energy drink taking up space in their apartment? I thought. I would occasionally buy it 3x a week – ONLY if it was $2.00, though – I refuse to spend the marked up $2.50 price tag found in most New York stores. I feel better about my indulgences, if I can get a discount on them. Although lately the little can has crept back into my life like an unwanted wart that you can’t get rid of. Yet, now the 8.4 oz. isn’t keeping me caffeinated half of the day. What gives? I’ve developed an immunity to the stuff and need to supplement with lattes and iced coffees and end up watching old Charles Bronson movies – which by the way – are incredibly violent, and more so at 4:30am. I will not repeat this experiment and keep my caffeinated beverages to something manageable so sleep won’t abandon me or try to conform to the 2.1 cups of coffee per day Americans consume, as recorded by the latest national average studies. I’m now a coffee drinker.