I will not apologise for liking coffee; caffeinated coffee. I will, however, apologise for my actions due to drinking coffee; highly caffeinated coffee.
This week we celebrated National Coffee Day. Samantha had risen early on Wednesday, gone to 7-Eleven to retrieve her free cup of coffee, to find out that National Coffee Day was actually on Thursday. 7-Eleven for those not in the know, is a convenience store, which usually has slightly inflated prices; you want convenience, you pay for it. They do appear to reward their customers, as they have free 'slurpies' on their birthday, which, of course, is 7/11, (This would not work in England, as 7/11 is 7th November, rather than July 11th,) and free coffee on National Coffee Day, between the hours of 7am and 11am, for as long as cups are available.
Samantha came into the office, with her free cup of coffee, on Thursday morning, and suggested that we go on a 'convenience store crawl', more specifically, a 7-Eleven crawl. Appeasing her enthusiasm, I smiled and suggested she make a map. Taking me at my word, that was exactly what she did, and as work had been seasonally slow this week, she took me along for the ride.
There were three local stores, our side of the river. Our first stop was quite an eye opener for me. They did not have, as I had expected, one or two pots filled for consumption, but about twenty. I didn't think to count, but there may have been eighteen (seven plus eleven) different varieties. As I had already consumed my first cup, as usual, at Joe's, I thought I would try something a little less 'punchy'. I do not particularly like flavoured coffee, as the smell is always much more pungent than the taste, and I find it a little disappointing, but as they had hazelnut flavoured creamer to add to the kernel flavoured coffee, I was willing to try. My theory was that if I did not want to drink it now, I could refrigerate it, and have it cold, later in the day. Strolling into the store was very easy, and helping myself to the medium size cup was not challenge. Walking out without paying, was slightly more tedious. I suddenly felt rather guilty at using this particular store to satisfy a whim, namely getting a free cup of coffee on National Coffee Day. The contents of my pack of 'tic-tacs' were dwindling, and as I did not want to go through the day with 'coffee breath', it seemed a good idea to replace my daily mouth freshener. Convenience, and my free coffee set me back nearly a two dollars in guilt money.
Samantha was very disappointed. The queen of bargains had let her crown slip, and Samantha considered it her job to make sure it was set firmly back on my head.
Our second stop was at the around the University of Texas area. I received my 'pep talk' before entering. I was not to buy anything, no matter how guilty I felt, and I was to accept the offering graciously. Again, the stand had a variety of coffee. Convincing myself that I did need a second cup, I found the Chocolate Raspberry flavour, and added the creamer. I had done extremely well, walking directly to the coffee pots, picking up a cup, finding the correct fitting lid, and adding the cream. I was ready to leave.
'How about two donuts for a dollar? Your coffee is free!' This was more of a statement; it could not even be considered a rhetorical question. I was struggling. Samantha's statement of 'No thank you!' was firm and convincing. My floundering, and attempts at denial, were redundant. I tried to make the excuse that someone in the office might like a donut. After all, they only had honey cake and cup cakes to munch on. They really needed something else to make the next dentist visit worth while!
I was now down nearly three dollars, but did have two cups of coffee. National Coffee Day was starting to become rather expensive.
Samantha saw one more chance to save my monarchy, and drove to the other end of the University 'Drag', and parked in front of our third stop. Before I was allowed to leave the car, I had a lesson in negative talking. I promised I would do my best. We were the only customers in the shop, which made my plight more difficult. I felt the eyes of the cashier upon me. I walked the aisles, looking for a large bag of Chex mix for Dana, before going to the back of the shop. Of course, I didn't think this made me look the slight bit suspicious. The management, I think, had a different opinion. Trying to look nonchalant, I meandered around the stand, which contained the same variety as the other stores, and decided I would try their 'fusion' blend. The only advertisement on the stand was that it was an 'energy' coffee. Highly caffeinated. Although my IQ has been tested, and the results were in the 'high' category, I can sometimes challenge this outcome with rather stupid actions. I decided to add some Irish Cream syrup. This was not a creamer, and so the coffee remained uncoloured. I reached for what I believed to be half and half, and poured it into the hot dark liquid. Samantha was staring at me almost as hard as the cashier. I managed to walk out of the shop with just my coffee.
On first sipping the coffee I realised my mistake. The creamer, I was informed, was caramel flavour. This mixed with Irish Cream would probably have been quite pleasant, but I had not taken into consideration with what the fusion was infused! I continued to drink the mixture all the way back to the office, where I relayed my failures, gave Dana the donuts, and looked online for the ingredients that were contained within my beverage. The word 'herbs' seemed to fly off the page. Herbal tea is generally considered to have a calming effect. However, this coffee was to give energy, rather than to relax. The energy that I experienced was rather amusing to those around.
After about ten minutes, I started to giggle. Samantha's comment of 'Skippy's back', caused those around to ask for details. The story of our trip to Jamaica, and my experience with the cream rum was heard with amusement. I continued to laugh uncontrollably and my mouth severed all connection with my brain. The ingredients that were contained in my coffee, Guarana, Ginseng and Yerba Mate, all have rather unique qualities. Upon later investigation, I found that Guarana is a seed that has twice the amount of caffeine as the coffee bean. Ginseng is re known for being a stimulant, and Yerba Mate is a common ingredient in energy shots. Put the three together, with coffee, and you have rather a powerful concoction. Add some sugary, syrupy, products with lots of additives (which generally come with a warning, 'keep away from children and certain people called Tracie') and you, or rather I, have dynamite!
Fortunately, the usual former practice that I experience when having a cerebral detachment, failed to materialise, and the dirty jokes remained untold. Ever grateful for small mercies, I continued to act like a dog chasing his tail, and my mouth metaphorically ran away to the stars, and back. I recited nonsense in 'Bill and Ben' (look that one up on the internet! Circa 1964) and kept my chair firmly on the ground, despite trying to convince everyone that we were on a very turbulent flight. Finally, I kept jumping into the corner. (Black Adder fans will understand this move!) After about half an hour of complete hyperactivity, I came down with a bump. I did not cry, although it was very difficult holding back the tears. Finally, I just wanted to sleep.
It was later, when I decided to do some more research, that I found an article which refers to 'Meth Coffee'. Perfectly legal, some of the feelings associated with this range from fantasia to euthanasia. Obviously, not everyone is affected the same way. I am particularly susceptible to anything that has a higher than normal level of....well, anything.
Having given a rousing performance to all who were present, it was deemed that fusion coffee should not be drunk by me, at any time. I was kept away from operating any form of machinery for the rest of the morning. I shall not be repeating the performance next year, and I will have to go to another subject for ...... another story.