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Ever since I tasted the nectar of the gods, coffee has been an unwavering presence in my life.
Black or white. Artisan or instant. With sugar or condensed milk. It honestly doesn’t matter just as long as I get my caffeine fix every morning.
I’m ashamed to say that my addiction is so bad that even when I’m running late to RICE’s morning meetings, I’d still choose to dash to the nearest coffee-shop instead of being punctual. But hey, if my editor’s gonna yell at me anyway, I might as well be energised enough to comprehend his screeches right?
A few days ago, after her ears were subjected to yet another one of the boss’s deafening tirades, my colleague, Rachel, decided that she had had enough. Marching over to my desk, she threw down the gauntlet.
Either I started coming into work an hour earlier every morning or I proved to her how important coffee was for me to function, and how much coffee I could drink in a single day.
“Six cups, six hours. Deal?” Rachel taunted.
I told her I’d do it in three.
As RICE’s lunch hour rolls around, I find myself a heaving mass of excitement and nervous energy.
Prior to this, the hours between 9:30 AM and 12:30 PM were spent reading Reddit and refreshing social media instead of getting actual work done. “Research”, I constantly assured my boss, who side-eyed me with a vengeance.
But everything was about to change.
Inviting Rachel to join me for lunch, I chug two kopi pengs in front of her before either one of us even touches our food. Immediately, my body recognises the elixir of life and snaps out of withdrawal. The dark clouds of doom hanging over me clears and everything is rainbows and butterflies again.
Midway through my fifth spoonful of cai fan, I start to notice a faint gurgling coming from the depths of my digestive system.
1:37 PM: Unfinished Business
After promising that I’d honour the spirit of our wager, Rachel heads back to the office while I make the trip to a nearby café to get some work done and make up for my morning’s inefficiency.
No sooner than sitting down and opening my laptop, it dawns on me that I only have slightly less than two hours to ingest four more coffees. All thought of daintily sipping a warm cup of joe go out the window and I’m left with no choice but to order and down both an iced latte and a flat white.
The caffeine in my lunch-time coffees had finally hit my central nervous system. Hard. I was more awake than I had ever been in my life, but what use was alertness when you’re jittery AF and can’t focus on anything?
Jacked up on caffeine, Enya’s ethereal voice sounds more like Eminem’s lyrical machine gun and my mind continues to hurtle through time and space at the speed of light. I also start to feel as if the walls of the café are slowly closing in on me.
Unnerved and eager to preserve what’s was left of my sanity, I decide it best to get out of the café and walk it off.
Stumbling down the streets, I receive plenty of stares from strangers.
With me feeling somewhere between drunk and comatose, I can only imagine how I appear to a concerned passer-by. It’s barely even the middle of the day and this degenerate’s already high on something other than life.
But my challenge isn’t over just yet.
Dragging my feet to the nearest coffee joint I can find in the neighbourhood, I purchase my final two coffees: a mocha and a cappuccino. Hell, if I’m gonna go out, I’m gonna go out in style.
3:25 PM: Home Sweet Home
Clambering up the office staircase, I don’t even bother looking for Rachel to brag about my victory. Instead, I make a beeline for the office couch and proceed to crash, a crumpled heap of a man with my pride all but gone.
I was mentally exhausted but with all the caffeine coursing through my veins, sleep was a something I could only dream of.
Had I won? Yes. With time to spare in fact. But was it worth it?