It was mid-afternoon on some random weekday and I felt like total shit. I dragged my ass to the office coffee machine and felt a tiny surge of excitement (as much as I could muster) when I found the coffee pot empty. I now had an excuse to hide in the coffee room for an extra 10 minutes while it brewed. The smell of the coffee brewing gave me a feeling of comfort, of hope.
I resisted the temptation to plop on the floor while I waited and instead rocked back and forth to distract my body from its exhaustion.
Coffee in hand, I headed back to my cell (I mean cubicle). I sat cross-legged in my ergonomic chair and stared blankly at my computer screen as I sipped my coffee and pet it’s warm body like a tiny kitten. I felt like Gollum and his precious.
An hour later I was engrossed in a design project and had completely forgotten about my pre-coffee stupor. My brain had kicked back on and my focus was keeping me distracted from the fatigue that lingered in my body. On a normal day, one in which I did not partake in the mid-afternoon caffeine-induced crawl out of the hole, by this time in the afternoon I would have been doing something brain-numbing (like organizing email) because that is all I would have had the energy to handle.
When my mind popped out of project-mode for a moment and I remembered how horrible I had felt just an hour earlier, I had an “aha” moment. Coffee helped me feel better and work better. Coffee woke me up! Yep, I know this seems obvious, but at the time it was revolutionary. I didn’t associate the constant feeling like someone drained my blood as being “tired” and so never associated coffee with a possible resource for fighting off the fatigue and foggy brain. Before that day I rarely had coffee after my morning cup.
The afternoon cup-o-joe gave me a boost of clarity and helped me get through the day without daydreaming about curling up in a ball under my desk.
By the time I got home, my artificial zest had faded. My typical evening routine commenced: cook dinner, scarf dinner, scramble to wash the dishes and frantically stay in motion knowing that once I plopped on the couch, I would not be able to get up again. Then, by about 7 p.m., when my small, 22-year-old body finally was completely spent, I would dive into the couch and live vicariously through the meaningful lives of fictitious characters in television shows like Grey’s Anatomy.
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