Erik Larson

Jan 23, 2009

The Trio

I’ve long been interested in writing about our three favorite habits: alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine. It’s of course possible and perhaps even probable that I’m interested only because I indulge regularly myself. A kind of self-interest, as it were. But regardless, I’m here tonight to stand up in the group meeting and admit my problem. Here goes.

This evening after work I’m sitting watching the news, drinking a glass of Chianti, and it dawns on me, slowly, that something’s wrong. Finally I pinpoint it… no coffee today . Not good. I drink, as a habit it should be told, two to three cups of strong coffee every morning, without exception. And today I was interupted working on the initial stages of my first cup, with no additional coffee drinking in my day.

So, here I am, hours later, with a physical problem worming its way into my awareness, and suddenly the nickel drops and it occurs to me that I haven’t had enough caffeine . Ahhh. It all makes sense now. It explains how I’m dull, headachy, almost depressed. I’m sluggish, uninteresting and uninterested. The wine means nothing. In fact it’s exacerbating my situation .

So, I hate to admit it, but I’m soon trucking down to the local Starbucks, 6:30 in the evening, wine half drank sitting on the counter, ordering a Grande Latte, with an extra shot . The perky woman behind the counter, with the store fairly dead by Starbucks standards, asks if (and I’m repeating this basically verbatim) “I’d like another shot on the house”. Huh? This is bar talk. Sure, I reply, bellying up to the barista. Another shot of the stuff, and on the house, lady! Now I’m looking around. Things seem better. Perhaps I should strike up some random conversations with the other caffeinated souls perkily reading and chatting and yacking around me. Maybe this place could get jumpin’ after all!

Anyway, this is an interesting subject to me, this whole idea of our habits and how we view them. And so I won’t put off much longer my exploration of our beloved trio; call it the alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine diaries . More to come.