Here I sit, drinking my coffee and getting my day together, and I have a little story to tell you. I don’t know if it showed on the blog or not, but last week was not really a winner for me. My get up and go, to say the least, had gotten up and gone. I struggled to have productive days, I was so tired I could barely see straight, and I had several absolutely skull crushing headaches, which is nothing at all like me. I wondered if I was coming down with something, but I didn’t. The mornings that I went out at 5:30am to ride with Jen were torture. I hated her (even though she is very nice) and hated my life choices, and I would be all done in by noon. None of my knitting worked – everything was stupid and I struggled to find shreds of optimism in every day.
I mentioned it to Joe, and he suggested all reasonable things. Going to bed early, resting.. and I tried to do those things, but I still didn’t feel right. One afternoon I even took a nap. (I hate naps.) I also – without really doing it on purpose, upped the caffeine intake. Usually I have 3-4 cups of coffee over the morning, and then reel it in for the afternoon. When I was a younger woman I could drink coffee all day, but I find that if I don’t keep it to the mornings, I don’t sleep as well. Last week I was draining a pot over the course of the morning, and sometimes making it again around noon. I even tried to figure out how to take my good friend Mr. Coffee on bike rides, since the 5:30am thing was killing me. Still – despite this huge coffee scene going down, I couldn’t perk up, and even more weird, I was still sleeping really well at night. I felt a little guilty about drinking as much coffee as I was (and I don’t know why, since there’s no evidence it’s bad for you, and I do really love it) and I felt even guiltier about the nap. I was drinking so much coffee that I should have been answering the phone on the first ring and feeling my own hair grow. Still, I was tired, and my head hurt, and I was… well. Let’s not beat around the bush. I was essentially crabby and angry for most of the week. (It is a testament to my commitment to being a nice, non-violent person who is as kind as possible on purpose, that I didn’t ram a stranger with my bike. It occurred to me more than once.) I swallowed my cranky feelings, I took something for the headache, and I started taking vitamins. I still felt lousy.
Friday I really pulled it together. It was Amanda’s birthday, and I organized and cooked a family dinner and everyone came over, and I hoped I didn’t give them all whatever bug I’d gotten. After supper, everybody helped bring the dishes into the kitchen from the back garden, and we all ended up in the kitchen, washing, talking, laughing… and Pato, leaning against the counter, reached over past the coffee grinder (full of beans) and flipped over the bag of beans there to see what brand we were using. (We’re a coffee loving family. It varies.)
“Wow.” he said. “Who drinks decaf?”
The whole family stopped. It was like we were in a movie and someone stopped time. Nobody moved, nobody took a breath – everyone froze in place and slowly turned to look at me. The odds that I would have taken up decaf are about the same that I would take all the yarn in the house and set fire to it in the street. There, in Pato’s hand was truly, really, a nearly empty bag of decaf coffee beans.
I turned to look at Joe. It is worth mentioning at this point, that while I do most of the cooking, Joe does most of the grocery shopping. It is also worth mentioning, that Joe makes the coffee. He usually drinks very little at home, but sets the coffeemaker at night so that it’s ready when I get up in the morning. Other than drinking the stuff, I don’t have much to do with it. Joe knows this. I know this. The whole family knows this, and as the wave of realization swept over us, the whole family slowly shifted their gaze from me to him, and the look of horror on his face was unlike anything I’ve ever seen.
“Oh my God” he said. “Honey, I’m so sorry.”
“Are you ^&*()^ing (*&^$#%^ing me?” I said, and that was when the whole world made sense. I had been drinking freaking decaf for a week. My husband had put me on a cold turkey caffeine withdrawal program, and it was all coming together. The headaches, the napping, the agony of 5:30am. The whole family dissolved into hysterical laughter, while I said things like “I TOOK A NAP” and “DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH OF THAT I HAVE BEEN DRINKING” and “DO YOU KNOW I RODE MY BIKE WITHOUT COFFEE” and “WE ARE GETTING A DIVORCE.”
They laughed and laughed, and Joe kept on laughing, he burst out spontaneously in spasms of it for the rest of the evening, and even that night when we were in bed, he was still thinking of it and getting all seized up with how funny it was. “Honey” he said, gasping for breath between the giggles, “in all the years we have been together, that’s the worst thing I’ve ever done to you.”
“Don’t touch me.” I said.
* I am not really getting a divorce, but I thought about it until I got a real cup of the stuff in the morning.