Coffee, cigarettes, and more bad habits

I drink too much coffee, even in the summer. My best friend Mari turned me on to iced coffee many years ago, so if I’ve brewed too much in the morning, I just make iced coffee in the afternoon. Now I know better because coffee is a migraine trigger, but when I try to wean myself from this, one of my only vices, it gives me a headache, so I justify it by saying ‘hey, there are worse things that I could be doing.’

When I go to see the doctor, and the questions about drinking and smoking come up, as they inevitably do, I can answer smugly, hardly ever and no. But in the last month, my relatives from Germany have been visiting, and we have used this excuse to have a couple of big get togethers, and I have used this excuse to do something that I rarely do any more: drink alcohol. You see, whenever we go out, as in my husband and I, I am the designated driver, so I will probably have one drink very early in the evening, and then hot tea and water for the following four hours, and I really don’t have a problem with that. But these parties have been at my sister-in-law’s house, which is about four blocks from my house, which means . . . no designated driver status for me. And so, I drank. Now you can probably guess my tolerance level since I rarely drink: it’s non-existent, and I was drinking lots of fruity, slushy things and shooters. No, I did not get sick, just incredibly silly (and there are pictures).

Anyway, at the latest party, I took it a step further and did something else that I haven’t done for years–I smoked cigarettes. I’m surprised that my body didn’t go into full body shock. This is a bad habit that I gave up years ago and never really had as a full-blown habit. I was one of those casual smokers, during times of stress, exams, and at bars, and then sometimes at the weirdest times I would have a craving. But I haven’t had a full-blown craving until the other night, and I blame it totally on my sister-in-law, who is the person with whom I would always smoke the most. Guilt by association. I also happened to be very pissed, so it was a good time to throw all good restraint out the window and let Lola loose, and boy did I ever.

I got into a political argument with my nephew, poor boy, and I even considered jumping into the pool with my clothes on, but I was having a very good hair day and didn’t want to ruin that. I ended the evening sans shoes, but special drinking glass in hand. I awoke without a hangover, still pissed, craving coffee.

So mea culpa and all of that. But if I confine myself to this exhuberance once every five or ten years, I suppose I can survive. After all, the night began as a celebration for me. I had gotten very good news about a lump in my breast. Being the half-empty kind of person that I am, I was convinced of the worst-case scenario, but it turned out to be the best-case scenario, so I was feeling very good about things: life in general, my life in particular, our life as a couple and the future and where we were going. The future was full of possibilities and I was feeling them spread before me, in spite of the fact that my wallet was empty and the money fairy was not due to visit any time soon. I felt a tiny inkling of that elusive thing called hope. Maybe, just maybe things would start to get better.

So you’ll have to pardon me if I just couldn’t understand why someone close to me chose that particular day, moment in time, to take a stand in his freedom of expression on one particular issue that weighs heavily on my heart, even though I have said that I will try to stay out of this issue. The timing was selfish and ill-considered. Perhaps I am being selfish for wanting to have joy and hope unsullied. Sometimes I don’t know if my expectations in life are too high, truly. After all, I am no peach in the best of times, admittedly. I don’t know. I’ll never know. And that, friends, is the heart of the matter: we never really know, do we?


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