I guess I suspected that this might be a problem, but it really sank in when a close colleague told me the other day that he was freaked out by it. And I’d hate to have you hear it from anyone else but me.
I’m a decaf drinker.
Yeah, I know. Nowadays you can’t count on a philosopher to smoke like a chimney, or to be drunk off her ass at work, or even to wear a beret.
But just as we can count on gravity to keep pulling matter toward the center of the earth, you’d think you could count on a philosopher to be hopped up on caffeine, preferably delivered via strong coffee in a café where people discuss big ideas (or fine distinctions, depending on one’s druthers).
A caffeine addiction is the thread that is supposed to tie even the most abstract philosopher to the fact of her embodiedness, providing nerve-jangling evidence that she partakes in our common humanity. Hell, if the philosopher is captivated by questions that keep her up at night, the java is the silent partner providing the hours of consciousness needed for the contemplation.
But about a year and a half ago, I was sick with flu, so sick that I couldn’t drag myself out of bed to make coffee. The headaches from the flu masked the headaches from the caffeine withdrawal, and by the time I was healthy again, I didn’t need caffeine anymore.
I still love the flavor of coffee (and there is an awesome coffee place that just opened a store near campus), but now I’m only drinking it for the flavor, not the buzz. In lieu of caffeine, I’m opting for sufficient sleep and regular exercise.
I’ll understand if that makes me less of a philosopher in your eyes.