It’s Too-much-coffee Man!

This is a revised version of an editorial written on Friday afternoon which was total bollocks, even by the high “total bollocks” standards we have at TC. Mind you, it wasn’t totally my fault, since I was out of my head on caffeine, with an entire nutritional intake for the day of two large lattes, a Coffee Slimfast and some caffeine pills. This left my mental state somewhere between “wired” and “hyperactive”, with enough nervous energy to power a small Soviet submarine. When I spoke to people, they looked at me even more oddly than usual — I must have sounded like a modem questing for connectivity. It was as if they were scientists, trying to communicate with a dolphin; intelligence present on both sides, just an impenetrable barrier, sponsored by Starbucks.

I generally don’t drink much coffee, preferring to keep the effects of caffeine in reserve. If you have no immunity, then when you need to (all-night video shows), you can give your system a good seeing-to with the minimum of effort. When you’re used to six cups a day, the only option you have left for staying awake involves car-batteries and nipple clamps — which would have made my work colleagues look even more askance at me than my Flipper imitation.

Time also goes by extraordinarily slowly, which is another reason why it’s not good to be caffeined up at work. However, it’s ideal if you’re trying to cling onto every second of your leisure time, like a drowning man lunging for a supporting actress on ‘Baywatch’. Alcohol leads to lost weekends: caffeine finds them, admittedly down the back of the sofa and covered in crumbs. Oh, and speaking of food, at least alcohol is somewhat self-regulating: after a certain point, you want to eat, which helps diffuse the effect. But the more coffee you have, the less you want to eat, which leaves the caffeine to ravage your system in a way reminiscent of Godzilla touring Tokyo.

Like all drugs, however, its effects are partly illusory — not so much mind-expanding as world-shrinking. You give the impression of alertness, but just try and concentrate on something for more than five seconds. This is where caffeine parts company with, say, alcohol and its brethren, which give you the attention span of a Giant Redwood. Caffeine turns you into a living, snarling, spike. On the way home, I was irritated by a couple walking their freakin’ dog, slowly occupying the entire width of the pavement — I was about to push past, when I realised it was a guide-dog. Oops.

I think it was at that point I decided to go home and have a beer, in an effort to take the edge off my keenness, and leave this editorial for review in a less…intense state. Rather glad I did; it took me a good 24 hours for hunger to be other than a distant memory, It probably did help on one score though: the elusive goal of completing the Christmas shopping was nailed on Saturday afternoon, with the single-mindedness of the chemically-enhanced. So I am now at the point where I can sit back smugly and start flicking through the festive ‘Radio Times’, though my complete lack of Christmas spirit is unsurprising — decking the halls with boughs of holly is low on the list of priorities, and as for fa-la-la-ing…wild horses, mate, wild horses. Christmas is not caffeine-compatible!