Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Caffeine Entry

Imagine if you will, a short, pleasingly plump, female hamster with adorable curly twists, running non-stop on a wheel for two weeks straight. Imagine that said hamster, having jumped off the treadmill for a brief respite, is now doing a happy dance and singing "Hallelujah."

Let me be clear about something; I am very lucky to have a job that I find exciting, never boring, and intellectually stimulating; however, that doesn't mean that on occasion I don't want to scream poor, poor pitiful me as I slog through 50-plus hour work weeks when the state legislature is in session. North Carolina has a biennial legislature, so the current session is the 2007-2009 session. Every other year is a short session to make needed adjustments to the two-year budget passed in the previous year. This year is the short session which means that it did not begin until May and that the session will most likely end at the end of June or July.

Consequently, all of the legislators have been in a bill filing frenzy and I, and my colleagues, have been running on that little hamster wheel trying to write and publish, on a daily basis, an analysis of each and every bill that is filed. My typical work day has been 11 hours with one exceptionally long day coming in at 12.5 hours.

Okay, enough whining, I have a journal entry to write. The only problem is that so much has happened in the past few weeks that I can't settle down on what topic that I want to address. Of course part of my inability to focus on a topic is that I'm buzzed on caffeine. (My sister reads all of my journal entries so this message is to her: it was an accident!)

I'm supposed to avoid caffeine because I have a wacky heart arrhythmia known as atrial fibrillation. My A-fib is classified as chronic which means that although medication helps, my heart does not stay in a regular sinus rhythm. My cardiologist recommends that I stay away from caffeine, as it is a stimulant. I am pretty diligent about doing so, although I cheat two or three times a year and have a piece of chocolate but I don't drink caffeinated beverages at all.

Last week, I stopped by the grocery store to pick up some decaf coffee beans. Today I had a craving for iced coffee. As I was pouring the beans out of the dark brown bag into my little coffee grinder, I had this nagging feeling that I was missing something but I couldn't figure out what it was. I filled my very large insulated mug halfway with the coffee (made very strong to avoid dilution by the ice of the coffee flavor), added non-dairy creamer and two packs of equal, then added ice.

The first really large cup was so good that I had a second. Then I started feeling weird, little flutters in my chest, slight nausea and some mild dizziness. I decided that I was dehydrated and drank more iced coffee. Finally my brain caught up with that nagging feeling that I had when I was making the coffee.

"Sheria, what color bag does the decaf coffee that you always purchase come in?"

(I often have discussions with myself, doesn't everyone?)

Self, "Green."

Other self, "And what color is the bag that you used to make your coffee today?"

Self, "Brown. Oops!"

So here I sit, having had two and one-half large mugs of iced and highly caffeinated coffee. I promise you that I am not in danger of dying but I will be up until the wee hours of the morning. I'm dosing myself with plain old water in the hope of somehow defusing the caffeine high that I'm currently on, but I'm still buzzing like a bee on steroids.

Consequently, I can't seem to settle on one thing to write about--there's Hillary and Barack, Princess Beatrice and the British tabloids, the emails that I keep getting about French porn, or the advice on bathroom etiquette that my sister sent me earlier this week.

I just paused to read an email from a friend and was inspired by his comparison of Hillary Clinton to Eva Peron to create my own little vision of Hillary channeling Eva Peron. Of course, as I'm high on caffeine and doing the hamster dance, what began as a simple parody of "Don't Cry for Me Argentina," turned into a little video project. The lyrics are pasted below . You'll have to wait until another day for the French porn and the bathroom etiquette tips.

Hillary's Song
Don't cry for me, my America
I'll never, ever leave you
All through Bill's wild days,
and my mad existence
I've kept my promise
To go the distance

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