You may have noticed that I’ve not posted here for nearly 2 weeks. I claimed to those who asked that I took a break for the High Holidays. I suppose that is true, but there is, of course, more to it than that.
On Yom Kippur those who are able fast. It is a complete fast – no food, no water. It begins at sundown and goes until after sundown the next day. A good 25 hours minimum. While you might think that going without food and water is a hardship, the REAL hardship for many of us is going without coffee. If your body is used to the morning jolt of coffee, spending a day without it leads to a headache. A very very very bad headache. So many years ago I learned to begin weaning myself off of my coffee before Yom Kippur so that I could concentrate on the holiday without trying to focus through the pain of a fierce headache.
I like very strong coffee. Dark roast. Strong. 2 cups. I began the withdrawal a day or so before Rosh Hashanah. I switched to decaf in order to satisfy the behavioral habit. I made very strong decaf (hey, there IS caffeine in decaf). I was doing okay – no headaches. 2 or 3 times between then and post-Yom Kippur I even allowed myself some REAL coffee. I thought I was doing fine.
I wasn’t doing fine. I was in misery. Rebecca Klempner says it best in her totally-on-the-mark post in Tablet magazine: “But the problem with this was that I didn’t really like myself off caffeine. I not only felt less awake, I also felt less sharp, less witty, and less creative. I navigated L.A. traffic with a fuzzy brain, I forgot to pick up the milk on the way home from carpool, and I couldn’t think of appropriate come-backs to my husband’s banter over dinner. And don’t even ask about how my writing was going. I felt like a G-rated William Burroughs deprived of his junk.” Oh, Rebecca, you speak for us all!!!
For the last 2 weeks I have been dispirited. Lethargic. I wake and I am without purpose. Everyone is wrong and horrible and mean and I am so small and overwhelmed and forgotten and everything is just too much effort and what is the point anyway and so what and who cares?
Yom Kippur ended yesterday. I broke my fast with some water after services, then a friend and I returned home and I had something to eat, a glass of wine, and some chocolate. But life was still gray and bleak.
This morning I woke to a gray world. I snarled at the cats. I dragged myself downstairs. But then – I made a cup of REAL coffee. Real strong dark coffee. And I drank it. Ahhhhhh. I made a SECOND cup and drank it. The sun rose. The air brightened. The world lightened. Flowers bloomed. Wow, I have so much energy I could tackle anything. I feel GREAT!!!!!!! And here it is, 16 hours later and I am still going strong, way too energized to sleep. Here I sit, posting to my blog. Smiling. Happy. Caffeinated.
Coffee, ah coffee!
Oh coffee coffee coffee!!!!!
coffee ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh coffee!