Caffeine nation

I have not been drinking much coffee for the last ten months, because of my kidney stones. (I read something online about “dark beverages” making them worse, and – although no one can really quite agree about what causes kidney stones – I decided to make the great sacrifice.)

It hasn’t been that bad. I have a cup or two of coffee in the morning, just to wake up; then, at work, I switch over to a mug of ice water. I like the sound of the ice tinkling in the cup; it reminds me of summer evenings on the veranda.

But, while in France recently, I decided to drink coffee again. Why not? They brew coffee the way I really like it: brutally strong and dark. Even the instant Nescafe in the hotel was delicious. I had three or four cups every morning, and usually a cup or two more after lunch or dinner. It was invigorating. (Most days I took a Xanax too, just to keep from vibrating myself to death.)

The French love their coffee. There’s a café / bistro every few yards; I saw very few people eating, but everyone was having a cup of coffee. We watched a French TV game show one evening – one of those stupid panel things where comedians try to top one another – and they were jumping around and screaming so much, you’d have sworn they were all on meth.  Aha! I thought. Caffeine!

My kidney stones hardly bothered me at all during the trip. Okay, I thought. So much for “dark beverages.” So, upon my return to the office, I went back to my cup-of-coffee-every-fifteen-minutes routine.

I became a different person.

I was snappish and irritable. I popped off at people. I became anxious about stupid things. (Also, my kidney stones began gnawing at me again. Go figure.)

It’s just not worth it.

I’m back on ice water, and I’m a lovely sweet calm person again.

(For what it’s worth.)

About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

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