Columnist for Thursday, 4/26 - jims

Coke, an absent friend.

Just last week, I spent an amazingly relaxing time down at Esalen attending a yoga seminar. It seems like such a long time ago, having come back into the real world. While there, I managed to meet some wonderful people and enjoyed a number of new experiences. It was probably among the best vacations I have had. The outcome of the experience is still developing and may be something I will write about in the future.

One very tangible outcome has been dietary. My time at Esalen was filled with hours of daily physical activity matched to as many or more hours spent within the hot tubs, relaxing and enjoying the views. Needless to say, it was important to stay hydrated. On average, I was plying through easily four liters of water a day. I didn't feel the need or craving for other beverages.

This may not sound unusual, but prior to last week it was not unusual for me to ingest a large amounts of a certain caffeinated beverage. Packaged in a shiny red can, this beverage has proven to be a good friend over the years. The amount of money I have spent on this beverage, probably should have been invested instead. I have memories of walking to school, while in high school, drinking a six pack and eating powdered donuts for breakfast. I have even made the pilgrimage to the hometown of the original museum and the now defunct satellite museum in Las Vegas. It is pretty safe to say that Coca Cola and I went hand in hand.

As of this writing, it has been nearly eleven days without Coke or another caffeinated beverage. While at Esalen, as I stated, all I really wanted to drink was water. Maybe it was the purifying aspects of yoga and sweat, maybe it was the lack of availability, but I just did not need it. But, little did I know what to expect upon my return to the real world and my daily life.

By trade, I am a coder monkey. I sit in front of a computer, type a bunch of funny stuff, run some tools, and things go. This is what I returned to on this past Monday. Upon doing so, an old craving hit. The demon spawn within the red can beckoned to me. After eight days of no cravings, no caffeine headaches, no withdrawl anything, I was craving Coke in a major way. It was not that something physiological was driving the desire. It was purely psychological.

My brain, somehow, has made a connection between coding and drinking coke. It is a pairing that is pretty hard to break. If I step away from the computer, the craving dissipates. Upon returning to the keyboard, there it is again. To quell the cravings, my intake of water and juice has grown pretty significantly. Where I once ingested maybe a liter to a liter and a half of coke and a liter of water while working, I am now up to four liters of water and about a liter of juice. And despite all of that fluid, I still crave a Coke as I type in code.

The next several days and weeks should prove interesting. One thing is for sure, I am hitting the head much more frequently.

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