They Should Put Warning Labels on That Stuff

Gagh. Tonight I have been reminded rather forcefully that caffeine is a mind-altering drug, and as such is not to be trifled with.

I spent yesterday securely ensconced in my room trying to write a program that will play Nine Men's Morris. All well and good, but I've found that if I don't get a certain minimum quantity of exercise and sunlight I start to feel sickly and lethargic. Today proceeded much as yesterday until I forced myself outside around 6 in the evening, still early enough for about an hour and a half of walking in daylight. I brought a book along with me, and eventually ducked into a coffee shop as twilight fell.

It should be pointed out that I lead a largely caffeine-free existence. It isn't that I have any strong objection to the stuff; I just don't really like coffee or tea and I can take or leave soda, and since soda is more expensive than tap water I generally leave it when left to my own devices. But I had a book with me and wanted to read it, and it was both too dark and too chilly to comfortably read on a bench outdoors. Since coffeeshops are more-or-less the only appropriate places to read indoors in public, and since most businesses frown on people occupying their limited floorspace without making a purchase, I found myself in a Starbucks buying a black coffee. I figured that I would be reading for a while, so I decided to order a large.

The remainder of this evening has been excruciating. About half an hour after I finished the cup I experienced a light-headedness that lasted about three hours. This was followed by an hour or so of queasiness about the stomach, after which I was seized with a nasty bout of paranoia and existential angst. Finally, I was gripped with an overwhelming logorrhea, the results of which you are reading now.

Ideally I would learn a lesson from this, something to the effect of "don't drink large coffees when you haven't engaged in a strenuous training regimen of sodas and smaller coffees to build up to it." As a practical matter, though, I imagine that I'll forget this lesson the next time I find it necessary to stay up late to work on a paper or other project, neglecting to remember that whatever gains in wakefullness I derive from the accursed bean juice are more than offset by the loss to coherence and concentration.

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This page contains a single entry by Zach published on April 1, 2007 3:20 AM.

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