No, not the 80's version of sherbet, not the stuff that dissolves your nose, not the stuff that Kathryn Merteuil stashes in her crucifix and affectionately dubs 'God'. No no. I am not that glam. I mean Coca-Cola, the great liquid molasses, rotting our insides since 1886 (or thereabouts; Wikipedia ain't very clear on the matter). The foremost Santa sponsor, keeping him awake and wired right through the busiest night of the year. Great with rum, terrible with Tia Maria. The astringent agent we use to clean our grotty coppers with, and the favoured antagonist of dentists' oral ghost stories. The stuff that went one step beyond its contemporaries and did a little dance with vanilla. The stuff that beats Pepsi, hands-down, every time. And the stuff I am, sadly, pathetically, regrettably, dependent on.
I have no idea how this anomaly came about, and it is a sad state of affairs that it has moved beyond the point of being an addiction, as it no longer delivers the same...hit? anymore, and has become rather more of a quotidian habit. A part of my daily routine, if you will. Like brushing my teeth, or popping the old medication down the hatch, or chowing down on a bowl of honey Cheerios & soya milk with a soup spoon. Except this habit is detrimental, not only to my health, but, as I have discovered, to my mental wellbeing!
Yes. Apparently I feel okay not drinking Coke if I have a stock of it in the house. Sublime, in fact. I can resist it for days and days and days, knowing it is there if I need it. Key phrase; if I need it. So, clearly, the Coke functions as some kind of substitutional comfort. Bad day? Straight for the Coke. Good day? Why not celebrate with a good old glass of Coke! Anticipating a bad day? Have some Coke! (And usually too many paracetamol, but we'll let that slide for now.) However, when there is no Coke in my immediate vicinity, I tend to get very...antsy. And fidgety. And darty-eyed. And I urgently desire its presence. I will spare you the unsavoury details of how far I have been known to go for the procurement of Coke, because quite frankly, it's humiliating. I mean, I couldn't be addicted to something cool like...stamps, could I? NO.
It has gotten to the point where I've had 27 empty cans stowed in the drawer under my bed (!). You should hear the noise I made emptying them into the recycle bin out back—like a goddamn monster truck rally.
Anyway, I have inadvertently begun the rehabilitation process. During my weekly romp around Tesco the other Sunday, I rediscovered the magic of Volvic flavoured water. If someone says it's just as bad for you as Coke, as Meejin already so kindly has, I will punch you. THAT IS NOT THE POINT. However, a single one-point-five litre bottle was not enough to last me seven days, so on the most recent Sunday, whilst in said establishment once again, I took full advantage of the three-for-two-fifty special offer and filled the trolley with flavoured H2O. (At the checkout, my father quipped in front of the nice-looking checkout assistant that you can actually now get water out of the tap at home—for free!!! Really, Dad? Cheers for the wisdom.) I also surrendered to temptation and furtively snuck in a two litre bottle of the good stuff.
And for some strange reason, I did not open it. Not when I got home. Not for the whole of that day. Or the next. Or the next. Or, indeed, today.
At first I didn't realise I was detoxing myself, but last night I realised when I felt the premonition of what can only be the dreaded withdrawal symptoms, and my suspicions were confirmed this afternoon when I found myself in a state of turmoil over whether to open the bottle or not. I wanted some. I really did. But I also wanted to wait until after exams are finished next Friday to open it, as a kind of challenge to myself, as a reward, as a celebration, and because I find asceticism extremely fun.
I deferred my dilemma to the mother, who has been in a paralysing state of indecision all day as well, on account of the lime green she picked for the living room walls being too lime green. (Is that even possible?!) And she said, for the sake of my exams and being calm during them, I should allow myself one glass.
"But don't you know that if I open the bottle now I'll have to consume the whole damn thing within three days or it will go flat?!" *pulls face like Munch's The Scream at this insufferable circumstance*
"What? That's crap. They say that about wine too, and it's complete crap."
"But we're not talking about WINE here, Mother; we are talking about COKE! It goes flat! It loses its fizz!" *goes quiet* "The fizz is the best part :(. AND I SHOULD KNOW; I'VE DONE SCIENTIFIC EXPERIMENTS!"
‘Scientific’ might be stretching it a bit far, but I have conducted experiments concerning temperature ratio and fizziness.
In the end I decided to have a tube of sherbet and endure it hour by hour. Mitigation is where it's at. Baby steps, Bob, baby steps. I came into my room and got distracted by the Jurassic Park trilogy making-of specials which I am watching in reverse for some reason, and then latterly by Philosophy revision, which totally spoke to ma soul, man. Cause like, Socrates was all "There are three parts of the soul; the part that seeks knowledge, the spirited part, and the part which desires. The spirited part is subordinate to the rational, and together they govern the desires." Hello, me! Smart guy, that Socrates, I’m telling you. He’s onta somethin’. And then somewhere along the line I guess I thought blogging about my woes might ameliorate the stress. So far, so good!
But you know what's ironic about all of this? Usually at this point I'd turn to Coke.
End of Day 4.