Coffee Dreams

May 26, 2008

There are generally some early warning signs to any form of addiction, and harsh symptoms of withdrawal are a big one.  I know how this feels, because I’m a coffee devotee. 

My last cup of my beloved drink was an extra-strong one at 9pm last night, after which I spent another hour or so wired out of my skull and writing away for  a game site I’m working on. Kelli showed up soon afterward, got a big kiss, and then I stood there twitching and fidgeting like a madman while she did her myspace/facebook message checking- then she boots up “Spider Solitaire” of all things.  I have a game collection that I couldn’t play through in an entire lifetime- all kinds of things from historical wargames to point and click adventures, classic role playing games (Fallout and Planescape Torment anyone?) to slaughter everything that breathes shooters like the Doom games.  3 whole binders of neverending fun to select from, and “Spider Solitaire” is being played instead. Even her addiction to “Sid Meier’s Pirates!” apparently can’t hold up next to “Spider Solitaire”. 

Girls, I really don’t get it.  What’s with the solitaire obsessions and lack of desire to immerse yourselves in some of the more impressive games out there?  I’m not talking about all of the latest trendy shoot-em ups for teenage boys with ADD, or any of that Xbox crap. Some of the lesser known computer games out there (along with a few of the better known ones) are like fine art- something to savor, lose yourself in, and come out hours later thinking it’s been 20 minutes and thoughts such as “When the hell did it become 3am!?!?” running through your mind.  When was the last time “Spider Solitaire” did that?

So 12:30am to 2-something AM was spent in a caffeine-propelled session of playing the game I’d intended to write about, and being so zoned in that the whole hour and a half blew by in what felt like 30 minutes to me. Obviously, I’d gone way overboard on the strength of that last cup of coffee for the night, as even a huge mug of the blessed stuff usually doesn’t affect me for more than a few hours at most.  After finally forcing myself out of my computer chair, knocking down my before bed protein shake, brushing my teeth, and doing my obsessive-compulsive “make sure the coffee maker is turned off so it doesn’t burn the place down” check, I went to bed. If it weren’t for a sort of meditation breathing technique I like to use to kind of zone out and doze off, I’d never have gone to sleep.

The bad part about going to sleep for the night still wired, is that you wake up crashed.  It sort of feels like a hangover without the parched throat and pounding headache- that feeling of pseudo-exhaustion with the desire to keep your eyes slammed shut as tightly as possible.  I managed to crawl into the kitchen, eat my usual quick breakfast of a piece of fruit, protein shake, and glass of water (big breakfasts usually put me right back to sleep), and start the coffee brewing.  While waiting on it, I head back into my room, check my email, then sit on the bed and start petting my giant cat who’s curled up at the foot of it.  I must have just dozed right off again sitting there, because the next thing I know, I’m waking up again out of some coffee-withdrawal induced dreams, freezing and curled up next to the cat.  The dreams give some insight into how much my body craves caffeine.

I was walking around, by myself, in a place that was a sort of combination of the “Medieval Times” tournament show and a big ancient history museum- I vaguely remember complaining to someone that the Roman soldiers depicted in an exhibit were wearing the wrong armor for the time period- go figure.  That’s when I notice the food vendor, behind what looked like a gimmicky bar trying to be passed off as “Medieval”, inspired by all of the bad fantasy movies you could imagine.  So I’m checking out his selections, and the food vendor starts offering me “Coffee Muffins”.  The only thought that comes into my head is “what the…” when I noticed the cooked chickens, sitting there on a hot shelf, covered in coffee beans.  You guessed it, “Coffeed Chicken”.  The light was coming from candles made of a combinatin of wax and molten coffee (I don’t think this is possible-), and what looked like a beer tap behind the counter was actually “Draft Coffees”.  Looking at the menu hanging on the back wall I could read “Coffee Cake”, Coffee Cola (nasty), and my favorite, “Ma Huang (Ephedrine) Muffins”.  This is when I woke up.

This is when the really horrible feeling hit me.  Caffeine withdrawals usually occur around 12 hours after last ingesting the stuff, and when it’s a big load of it, they’re worse.  It felt like I had the flu, but then I could feel a stronger force pulling and compelling me to rise up and take the day by storm- The coffee maker.  I grabbed the new, giant (nealy 3 cup- hell yeah!) mug that Kelli just bought for me, filled it to the brim with my beloved drink, and drained it in record time.  Obviously it’s working now.