My freshman fall semester was spent in line at MUG and Uncommon Grounds deciding which drink to try. The delicious-sounding names of the drinks made them that much more enticing—who wouldn’t want to quench her thirst with a drink called “The Anarchist,” “The Yankee Buster,” or “The Peter Cottontail”? By conducting a highly scientific study of how long each drink took to make, whether the use of the espresso machine was necessary, and how much caffeine each beverage supplied, I had soon compiled a list of go-to favorites.
MUG and UG’s amusing menus soon lost their novelty, but I kept going back for more. Soon I was drinking a cup to wake me up, another to sustain me through classes, and a third to get through my work at night. Judging by the Disney World-like lines in which I patiently waited, I didn’t appear to be the only Georgetown student that needed Corp-supplied energy boosts.
It was only this summer when I went home that I realized how dependent I had become. My parents only own an espresso machine and I began to face intense cravings for the elongated, dark bitter drink, especially with all the Corp-supplied tweaks and additions. Without my fix, intolerable headaches ensued, followed by crankiness no cup of tea could cure. Had all those Life of Bryans, Café au Laits, and the occasional Red Eye really affected me?
My summer withdrawal symptoms should have been a warning, but when I returned to campus this fall, I quickly fell back into addiction. Soon after my relapse, though, I was saved from a lifetime of caffeine cravings and a downward spiral into a mocha-flavored hell.
At 10:05 one October morning, I convinced myself that I needed a cup of coffee before my 10:15 class, lengthy line at MUG be damned. My bag was heavy, I was over-heating in my winter coat, and the person at the front of the line appeared to be paying for his Dubliner in pennies. I had ten minutes to get to class, and I loathe being late, which only made me sweat more. Watching in agony as the MUG employees lackadaisically worked the espresso machine, I realized that I was completely stressed out about something that wasn’t indispensable. The foam topping off the whole situation was that when it finally arrived, my cup of coffee was lukewarm.
Rushing to class, it struck me that drinking coffee had ceased to be a pleasurable experience. Those ten minutes would have been much better spent taking my time getting ready or conversing with a friend. In the end, I didn’t even drink the coffee. Somewhat to my surprise, I was still awake at the end of class, proving to myself that I hadn’t really needed the stimulant. With the revelation that in wasting time and money on coffee I was essentially paying to be anxious and late for class, I resolved to put an end to my coffee habit.
Now if I’m cold, I drink decaffeinated tea. If I’m tired in the morning I take a shower. If I need a break I download music, go on Facebook, or take a nap. I realized that morning that being dependent on coffee, just adds another layer of stress to my life that I can do without. I can’t say I’ve completely given it up, but it has become a treat for me, rather than a routine. It is something that I enjoy after a meal or with a friend, because in the end, sharing time over a cup of coffee is always more enjoyable than drinking on the go.