Caffeine: the anti-zen of waiting in line

Today I was waiting in line at the supermarket. It was busier than normal and few of the self-check out machines were playing up which was slowing down the line. There was no staff member in sight to fix the problem.

Although I’d noticed the line was slow I was in la la land thinking about what I might cook for dinner. An angsty ice addict  (well she seemed like a classic ice addict) snapped me out of my own bubble world when she started yelling

“For f*%# sake staaaaaaaaffff.. I’m walking outta here and not paying if someone doesn’t come now



Hurry the F#@* up.”

It wasn’t the most polite way to get someone’s attention but it worked. A staff member came immediately and fixed the machines.

It was weird but I realised in that moment that I hadn’t felt bothered about waiting. This was unusual. I’m normally super impatient in lines. I hate waiting at the supermarket. I’m normally looking at my phone or doing tip tow raises up and down just for a sense of moment. But today I wasn’t at all bothered. I wasn’t even bothered by the ice addict. It was sort of amusing.. although I did feel sorry for her she looked gaunt and unwell.

So what was different about today? Why wasn’t I doing my usual racy ‘come on lets get this line moving’ thang… then I remembered.. it’s been 2 days since I had caffeine.

I decided to quit coffee yesterday. I’ve done this before and lasted about 3 months but usually I’m pretty hooked on the stuff. Like many of us I love coffee with a passion but so often it creeps up, gets out of hand and I end up feeling like the ice addict in line.. well I might not be yelling out loud but that’s a bit like what’s going on in my head at least.

This is what I noticed last time I quit. I felt less bothered by what is. I do have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms: a dull headache that’s been coming and going and a strong sense of background craving like I’d REALLY like some caffeine! Like I could skull a late in 2 seconds… and then another one.. that kind of feeling. But the withdrawals eventually go and what stays is a feeling of being more grounded. Less like the ice addict and more like… a Zen monk.. well maybe not that chilled but you know what I’m getting at. It’s subtle and I didn’t even notice it until the super market line incident.

A lot of people defend coffee. In the past when I’ve told people I’ve quit they don’t understand why. Conventional wisdom says if you drink less than 400mg a day then that’s safe for the body.  As this guy explains in the video below caffeine is a neurotoxin which kills brain cells and it’s a natural pesticide. Having a lot of it doesn’t seem like a good idea to me but there’s so much debate on this topic. Each to their own.

But for me it’s been interesting to explore what life is like without it. Also I don’t like the feeling that I’m so dependent on a substance. If I stopped eating oranges I wouldn’t get withdrawal headaches. The fact that I get withdrawals from caffeine makes a powerful statement to me. It’s a drug. Maybe one of the lesser varieties but still a drug nonetheless. I still love it. But I’m willing to let it go.. day at a time for now and I’ll see how I go. Because for me personally the benefits of not drinking it outweigh the pros of being hooked.

Have you ever quit or pulled back on caffeine? What benefits did you experience? I’d love to hear your insights in the comments.


I normally put an affiliate link here but today I encourage you to consider a donation to Greenpeace.. one of my favourite causes. 



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