I’m a news producer at a radio station and I get to work at around 4 o’clock every morning. The first of several alarms (I’m a heavy sleeper) goes off at 3:30 am. I can’t even begin to explain how early this is. The birds aren’t even awake when I get to work.
You’d think I’d be a caffeine addict, getting up at that hour, but the truth is I try to avoid the stuff. I was doing a cup of tea or a half-cup of coffee every morning for a while, but it didn’t prove to be particularly performance enhancing. It did wake me up, but it also wound me up, and it’s no fun when you crash 90 minutes before your shift should end. So I work tired, then go home and take a nap. I only work a 5 hours shift, so this is less of a trial than you might think.
But then there are days like today.
If you ever hear a radio person use the term “remote,” they’re talking about a remote broadcast – a live broadcast away from the studio, piped in via phone, bluetooth or Skype. We have one today, almost immediately after my shift. My id is crying in the corner right now, going, “No nap?” so I’ve promised to treat it to some sugar/chocolate/chemical caffeine concoction.
I always picture caffeine as Harley Quinn in an ‘I Love Coffee’ t-shirt, holding her giant hammer over a smashed Exhaustion, just waiting for it to twitch. That’s about what it feels like too. I know the exhaustion is there – I can feel it lurking, it just can’t batten on to those little receptors and do its thing. Every time it tries to move, Caffeine/Harley Quinn smacks it with a hammer again.
I’m enough of a geek to think this reaction is absolutely fascinating. My brain loves caffeine.
My body…not so much. My mother is one of those people who will be the 1 in 100 to suffer from the side effect of a medication, my dad gets hyperactive when exposed to aspartame and grandma can’t take narcotics, so I’m already genetically predisposed to be sensitive to drugs. Caffeine makes my brain buzz, my hands shake and my eyelids twitch. It’s not a very pleasant experience.
And yet I’m really looking forward to buying that canned mocha double shot from the gas station at the bottom of the hill. Part of this is because I’m only human and predisposed to like sugar and chocolate and the rest of it is because I’m really, really tired right now and I still have to work.
*pops tab on can* Let’s do this.