To tell you about my "giving up the bean"

I started drinking coffee in high school, and even though it wreaked havoc on this little body (I would shake incessantly for hours, get an upset stomach, endure headaches and go through bouts of decreased appetite all in the name of becoming a coffee drinker) I wanted to love it, so I suffered.  I am certain that I have overdosed on coffee at some point in my life.

My friend would threaten to give up coffee, I would win her back to the bean by enticing her with lattes. I didn't want to be alone in my addiction.  But in the meantime I was realizing that I was up to five cups a day at work.  I was replacing water with coffee.  My temper was becoming shorter and shorter with my students, I think my nerves were fried.  I didn't want to admit all of these things, so when she mentioned that coffee stimulated sweating...

She and I would define ourselves as sweaty people.  I don't know how some people can climb up stairs without their armpits getting damp, it is a mystery to me.  I can even break a sweat from writing on the chalkboard.  Coffee made this worse.  She found this out through, who else, but Oprah.   Coffee is a stimulant, but apparently in me it stimulated my sweat glands.  It could be minus a hundred outside and I would still manage to soak through the pits of a t-shirt.  I, unlike my friend, thought that my sweatiness was normal, well, not normal, but not unfeminine like she did.  In fact, I would lift my arms in my classroom to show the girls that I am ok with being a perspirator, somebody has to make sweaty young girls feel normal.  But I was getting meaner, so I decided to "give up the bean"in the guise of hating sweat.

It wasn't as difficult as I thought, although I'm not easily addicted to things, I can give up years-long habits in an instant and not miss them in the least, I'm blessed that way.  I simply switched to drinking green tea.

This transition was actually harder on me than giving up coffee.  I used to laugh at those strange tea-drinking-Christians, and thought I would never make it into that cult.  When I was young, tea-drinking Christians seemed like the purest of the pure.  Nothing could corrupt this group, not even coffee.  Mind you, at this time I was a smoker and drank litres of coffee a day and feared that they might eventually try to take these crutches away from me and turn me into one of them.

But upon giving up coffee and requiring caffeine to counter my night-owlishness, I became a tea-drinking Christian.

It was in the late spring when I left coffee, and I noticed that my shoes were getting a little damp. On the inside.  I immediately thought back to my awkward tween years when my foot odour was so bad that I would rather leave my shoes on and die of heat exhaustion than risk the embarrassment of my foot-stink. I quickly realized that the foot odour left when the coffee came.  Coffee redirected the foot sweat to the armpits. It stopped it from flowing down to that part of my anatomy.  And deodorant is created for armpits, so the stink was masked or whatever.

The other trade-off I experienced was the way that I played soccer.  I was no longer aggressive and in-it-to-win-it, I was about sportsmanship and exercise.  I cared more about being a team player than scoring goals (not that I did that often).  So on important games I would sneak the left over dregs from my brother's addiction.

I was also a much nicer teacher.  I was no longer on the edge of every nerve waiting to snap, but became caring and a lot less callous.  Mornings were no longer my nemesis, but my time to enjoy a tea through supervision, knowing that the slow rise of caffeine would manifest right in time for teaching.

Being a student again, at times I want to return to that old comforting friend.  I sometimes hear it call my name.  I have even browsed the bean aisle at the grocery store, but haven't found a coarse grind that will work in my individual bodum travel mug.  So I walk away.  I miss it on Saturday mornings with pancakes or French Toast, or eggs and bacon.  With those hearty breakfasts, tea's watery nature just doesn't "do it"  like coffee with a splash of cream does. I will sacrifice the dull headache that I now get being a coffee-visitor.

Strangely enough, even when I do indulge in a cup 'o joe, I need the slow rise that tea gives.  And I find myself double-fisting on those indulgent days.

Oh, and I still sweat, but not nearly as much.  And the stinky-feet left.  It could be because I drink a half litre of tea in the morning (... I'm sure you can guess what I'm getting at there). Not sure.

That's all.


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