The inner soundtrack of my life

October 7th, 2008

Today was a gorgeous fall day – mild, breezy and sunny, perfect for cycling to school and back. While I was cruising through Chinatown and along Union St. in Strathcona, I literally felt glad to be alive. It is rare that I contemplate my mortal self – the active state of my cells, my heart pumping, my lungs expanding and contracting. Usually I accept my “being in the world” (to poach recklessly from Heidegger), and mostly I rail against the injustices that plague human existence. But infrequently am I actually, actively, literally glad to be alive. Today was such a day. The exertion needed to get my very sexy but totally impractical gearless bike up the never-ending hills (even gentle inclines require me to stand up) got my blood moving and the soundtrack that happened to be in rotation on my ipod was perfect for such an effort. It was, I realized, the soundtrack of my life, perfectly in sync with every pedal, swerve, glide and coast of that moment: Prince, The Dandy Warhols, The Refugees, Erykah Badu, Hot Chip and of course, the Beastie Boys annotating my inner world, making me thankful for my physical presence on this fucked up planet.

Coffeeless and cranky

April 23rd, 2008

I am cranky today. Was cranky yesterday. Hmmm… could it be because I decided on a whim to do the Wild Rose Herbal D-Tox diet (I say diet because I’ve forgone the supplements – no real flushing of the system for me)? And let me say I am not the type to diet or do cleanses or deprive myself in any way. I find life hard enough. But here I am, doing a spring “cleanse.”

I am cranky because I am exhausted. I am exhausted – or feeling my exhaustion – because all I’ve been drinking is green tea, and not my usual 2 large cups of coffee in the morning plus limitless cups of black tea throughout the afternoon, and then decaf black tea in the evening. This is all because dairy is forbidden on this diet. Tea is a no-no too. But not coffee – go figure.

I’ve realized my dependency stems from a combination of needs. The first need is the need to feel awake, alert. I have this need due to chronic and cumulative sleep deprivation, going on seven years now. This is simply the bleak reality for parents of young children without live-in nannies. Second is the need for comfort. I come from a family of tea grannies, and ever since I was a child, tea represented the immediate, if temporary, solution for almost all problems. Have a headache? A long day? Stressed out? Being evicted? Knocked up accidentally? A cup of tea goes a long way to taking the edge off. Things always look better after a hot cuppa – my mum or gram said something like that. And, of course, it’s tea with milk (not cream, as the Americans do) and no sugar. That warm mug of steaming, milky liquid is something I rely upon to take me through an afternoon of work at my computer, reading, writing, transcribing, thinking – whatever. The third need derives from what I can only describe as an oral fixation. I would be obese, I’m sure, if I wasn’t so vain. Instead of eating, I can drink endless mugs of tea (coffee does do a number on my system after 2 cups), and have the benefit of comfort and caffeine.

But I just can’t drink green tea – even caffeinated – in the same way. I was sick of it after 2 cups on my first day of this damn diet.  So today, I couldn’t hack it anymore. I broke down and had coffee. I said (to myself) fuck it and poured myself a cup, mixing in vanilla cream (oh yeah, no sugar on this diet either). Ah well, fuck it. I was never one for pointless self-discipline. Life is too damn short.

I feel better already.

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