Friday, July 9, 2010

caffeinated and (not really) carefree.

Honey vanilla latte art at Kean Coffee in Newport, Calif.

"I'm too dependent on coffee," I bemoaned to a friend a year (or so) ago.

"What a journalist," she replied. I could tell she was rolling her eyes over the phone.

Is an unhealthy dependency on coffee that stereotypical of journalists and writers? It would seem so -- coffee and alcohol, I guess. I know I've had my share of both, along with the other things I suppose classifies me as the "typical" writer: an endless amount of coffee mugs, pocket-sized Moleskine notebooks, a tendency to correct a friend if he or she makes a grammatical error and a penchant for buying blank journals. When I'm sitting at Peet's, reading the New York Times off of my Macbook while sipping a soy latte and jotting down a to-do list in my Moleskine, I can't help but flip the switch on the neon sign above my head that reads: "Warning: Wannabe Writer."

I wonder if I am that way because of my profession of choice, or if my profession of choice leads all of its hapless wanderers down that particular coffee bean-lined path.

I drink a lot of coffee. Too much, perhaps. A morning without a cup of joe sends me into a consistent series of yawning. A few weeks ago, I decided to challenge myself: In an attempt to stop myself from drinking so much coffee, I would keep track of how much money I was spending on caffeinated beverages (soda excluded). Yesterday, I decided to give up. 

It's not because I was becoming disgusted with how much of my earnings go back into the corporate cash cows that are coffee chain stores (I am though), but I was having a hard time remembering to keep track of what I was drinking, where I was drinking it and how much I was spending on it. I don't even want to do the math right now. 

Vague and non-specific studies have shown that coffee actually has no effect on a person's productivity. Sure, the caffeine may hit you hard enough to keep you alert for a certain amount of time, but eventually your body just becomes used to it. I feel as if I've become immune to the effects of one cup of coffee. Instead, give me three, please.

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