Here we are, back on (snow-covered) home turf, missing Hawaii and preparing to return to work tomorrow. Be assured I have some beautiful photos of the tropics and stories about our honeymoon to share, but for now I need to tell you about what happened to me yesterday afternoon.
I invested most of my Saturday in schoolwork, namely in wrapping up the marking of the last of my literature analysis papers, and working on my report cards for the end of term. I knew it was coming because I didn’t get to it before we went on our trip, so finishing off spring break at the kitchen table was not a surprise. What I didn’t necessarily expect was my best friend Miss Sassy and her mom dropping by for a visit in the early afternoon.
There I was, jet lagged and facing a heap of school work, and I decided to enjoy a Diet Pepsi as a treat and a pick-me-up while we visited. I’ve been doing very well on my cut (way) back plan to make those silver cans an occasional beverage rather than my go-to beverage of choice. Since I’m drinking it rarely, I’m not used to being caffeinated, and one Diet Pepsi tends to carry quite the buzz.
After our company left, I settled back in to my “marking” chair and got back to my essays, but I soon needed something else to drink. In my suitcase (which I’ll get around to unpacking soonish) is a haul of Crystal Light from the States, where they have far better variety than we do here. I mixed myself up a mango something or other and sat back down, sipping regularly and marking like mad.
About an hour later, I started to feel strange: stranger than I am normally, at least. I suddenly felt like a superhero. All my senses were sharpened to a compass point. I saw the texture of the pulp in the paper, and every sparkle in my nail polish. I swear to you I heard the hairs Leroy shed as he walked by land on the floor. I heard my eyelashes swoosh through the air as I blinked and all the valves of my heart doing their thing–if double the usual tempo. I tasted every chemical in my Juicy Fruit gum: it really did move me.
Unfortunately, my super powers also came with cold sweats, and a level of shaking that saw me quivering like an elderly chihuahua in February. When I stood up, the whole room did a do-si-do and I heard the ocean despite having left the beach far behind.
At a loss for the cause of my sudden weirdness, I read the package of Crystal Light, which was labelled “Energy.” I was aware that the mix contained “just enough caffeine” according to the box, but I assumed “lightly” meant a smidgen of perk, a dusting of pep, even. Upon reading the package more closely, I realized a single tube of that stuff contained a frightening 120 mg. of caffeine. Apparently, including the actual soda, I put down the equivalent of five Diet Pepsis (more than my current weekly allotment) inside ninety minutes. In my current state of caffeine near-avoidance, I was suddenly rocketed into the stratosphere by a couple of zero-calorie drinks.
Remember “Flight of the Bumblebee?” It was my theme song for two hours yesterday, during which time I counted the grain in the wood on my kitchen table because I clearly couldn’t be trusted to mark papers.
What did I learn, friends? Reading is probably the most important skill a girl can have. I say this to you not as an English teacher, but as a person who heard her toenails growing yesterday.
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