Saturday, March 20, 2021

Caffeine Day

Every week or two there's a magical day at my house, in which I consume caffeine and my housemates are filled with joy. It's not that I'm cranky without caffeine. I gave it up as a daily event a few years ago, and there are no withdrawal symptoms if you're not reliant. The difference is energy


If it's my turn to make supper on Caffeine Day, it will be delicious and served in coordinated fashion, just before everyone is starving and not an hour afterward.  And if it's a haircut day (because yes, scissors and clippers and combs are new creative tools I have been enjoying since last spring) the chances of my co-habitants getting out of the chair looking ready for a Zoom closeup increase dramatically. I can't say they get to 100%, not after the time I cut the front of somebody's hair a whole lot shorter on one side than the other, but it's better than average. 

(okay, I admit it: I've made that mistake twice now. On two different people. And yet every few weeks I'm still asked to turn the kitchen into my my amateur hour hair salon. I don't think ANYbody looks that trustworthy, but here we are.)

On Caffeine Day, it's likely that everybody will get some quantity of clean laundry, neatly presented. Random neglected corners are dusted or tidied or made beautiful and suddenly noticed and admired. Orders get placed for things somebody wants and I put off coordinating. Sometimes, there's even a random act of luxury baking. And because I make progress on my own work as well, coming close in this case to finishing a sock...


... I'm happy all day long. Always infectious!

I don't think it's just the drug, though obviously that has an impact. I think it's just the sheer number of hours I have to work with. On a caffeine day, I get up early so I can finish my morning tea at least 14 hours before I expect to be asleep again, and from there the whole day feels like a never-ending gift.

Also, tea with caffeine in it tastes SO MUCH BETTER. (With the notable exception of Harnet & Sons' wonderful Vanilla Comoro, highly recommended and available in big bags of loose tea as well as sachets.) Who isn't going to be extra cheery with a delicious cup of tea in hand, rather than a sad cup of brownish water?


This week, I timed a Caffeine Day to fall on the first Monday after the time change, a twice-annual event I personally would like to see the back of. I dragged myself downstairs early enough to see sunlight pouring in through our back windows onto the fine spray of crusty-loaf breadcrumbs that covered our kitchen counter, but had been invisible to me before. While the water boiled, I swept them away and wiped down the counters. 

See? Just thinking about imminent caffeine offers a power boost. And as we slog through a pandemic I'm not too (house)proud to consider wiping down a crumbly counter a heroic achievement.

The best piece of that Caffeine Day's magic was figuring out how to solve a problem with my current writing project that has eluded me for weeks. But I also painted a get well card for a friend. These are the rejects and I wish I could say the final choice was an improvement. 


Still, finished!

And I used the leftover paint to set up backgrounds for future doodlings, as I learned watching a video interview with a commercial artist who does this every time she finishes with one palette and begins another.


I have since started The Doodlings. They don't have to be good to be a satisfying break between other mentally taxing things. And somehow, the messy colour at the back and the unskilled drawing on the front usually adds up to something I might see on an actual greeting card. I am now kicking myself for not pursuing this avenue for the get well card I did send.


The trouble with Caffeine Day is that it never seems to end at midnight. That means the day after is always Groggy Day, in which I flail my way forward till bedtime. So I have to ask myself, does one day of super productivity result in enough to cover two days' worth of requirement? And also, does it matter, if I manage to enjoy both days regardless?

I still don't know the answer. I just know it was hard work to free myself of caffeine in the first place, and I sleep better without it. I guess everything in life is a balance. 


Hope you've had a good couple of weeks, with or without a good strong cuppa tea or coffee. And I hope you're not as disappointed as I am that I still cannot paint a plausible flower! Soon. If persistence is enough to make it happen, then maybe next time we meet there will be one at the top of the Hug :^)

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