Barry Smith: Irrelativity |

Barry Smith: Irrelativity

Barry Smith
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Jordan Curet The Aspen Times
ALL | The Aspen Times

It’s now approaching week 6 of my having parted ways with my trusty sidekick, caffeine. Here’s my report from the other side.

First of all, thanks for everyone who wrote and called to support me during those early withdrawal weeks. I especially appreciate all the food you brought and all the chores you did around the house for me while I was going through caffeine DTs – you know who you are.

Alas, I don’t know who you are.

I just came home one day and the place was all clean and there was a bunch of food tastefully laid out on my kitchen table. I’m guessing maybe you’re some cleaning/catering service and you got the wrong address. Anyway, it was delicious. Still, I’m not paying for it. I washed your chaffing dishes, though, and you can come get them anytime you want.

I’m over the worst part now. The cravings are all gone, as are the headaches, the night/day tremors and most of the hallucinations. I’ve replaced my morning coffee with a totally caffeine-free “coffee substitute” product called Teeccino, pronounced – I think – Tea Chino. Pretty clever, right? Sounds like “cappuccino,” the frothy caffeinated coffee concoction, and is made up of the words “tea,” as in the deliciously hot caffeinated beverage that you’re fooling yourself that you’re having, and “Chino,” the city in California that’s famous for smelling of cow poop.

I imagine what it would taste like to repeatedly dunk the city of Chino in a cup of hot water, give it a little squeeze and set it aside on a saucer, then add honey and milk to the resulting soiled beverage. Then I take my first sip and I can stop imagining. The dream is real.

Just kidding. Teeccino isn’t all that bad. In fact, it’s an awesome beverage for those too pathetic to drink the real thing. Which, I have to admit, is now me. Is now I. Whatever.

Now then, on with some random observations from a newly decaffeinated soul.

• There was a time, years ago, when I’d start my day with coffee and a cigarette. I know that people who quit things are supposed to become evangelistically opposed to them, but man … I’d be lying if I said that it was anything short of glorious. I guess moving on from bad habits is a sign of maturity. If you’d told me back then that I’d someday replace this beautiful morning ritual with Teeccino and a carrot stick, I’d have responded with something very immature.

• I’m now convinced that I have super powers. Could it be that caffeine was like kryptonite, keeping me from my true potential? Now that it’s out of my system I think I can see through walls. But not through wallpaper. Or paint. Or clothes. Still, something’s going on. I’ve also developed what could only be described as super-human strength. OK, well, maybe that’s not the “only” thing it could be described as. I suppose some clever wordsmith could call it “lassitude.” Or “ennui.” But I don’t use those kinds of words. I use words like “super-human strength,” so that’s all it can be described as. By me.

• There’s a direct correlation between being jacked up on coffee and checking my e-mail every 45 seconds. Without coffee I’ve got it down to every three minutes. Small victories.

• I’ve never been a fan of calm, at least not the internal kind. I always thought a bit of angst kept things moving forward, and coffee was the turbine that drove that angst. But these days I generally feel pretty good about things and stuff. Calm, even. Weird.

• When I was deep in the throes of coffee I couldn’t imagine how anyone could live without it. I remember a friend telling me why she didn’t drink it. “Coffee makes me cry,” she said. And I thought, “Still … small price to pay.” Now I’m one of THOSE people, the people I used to mock. I think coffee might actually make me cry at this point, and not the crying-out-in-ecstasy that it once brought out in me. Have you ever become the person that you once mocked? I’d actually recommend it. It’s refreshingly disorienting – not unlike starting your day with a cup of Teeccino and a carrot stick.