It all started in a little spot called Casablanca (of all the soda joints in all the towns in the all the world) where I was having dinner with George and needed a beverage. Sure, there was wine and beer on the menu, but I was feeling conscientious and jet lagged and a good ol’ fashioned Coca Cola seemed just the ticket. “Yum,” I said, pounding the thing in about two swigs. “I forgot how much I liked these. Sir,” I added to our server, “might I have eight to 12 more?”
And on it went. Morocco definitely has something of a café society going on—particularly in Marrakech—but it’s obviously not the sort of place where you can wander up and order a pint. (In some restaurants, inside and discreetly, you can, but not in the open-air spots that are good for people watching and generally hanging out.) I don’t drink coffee (the reason previously being that I stay away from caffeine, but I don’t know which end is up any more) and so I found myself alternating between the amazing and omnipresent Moroccan mint tea and the amazing and omnipresent Coke … which frequently came in a darling recycled bottle with real sugar and Arabic script on the side. When in Rome, right?
And so here I am, three weeks since my return from Africa, with the shakes, and greedily looking for Coke wherever I can find it. At a recent work lunch my boss gave me the side eye when I moved onto my third. (I cared not; there was a party happening in my brain!) Similarly when some colleagues brought leftovers back to the office after a meeting I skipped right over the turkey sandwiches and started screaming, panicked, “Weren’t there any Cokes left? Guys? Cokes?” And just tonight George and I ran to pick up a prescription at CVS and he asked me if we could go through the pharmacy drive through. “Uh, they’re not going to deliver me my Coke through the window,” I retorted. (But seriously, how awesome would it be if they WOULD?)
It's also worth pointing out that I've just read a book about Scott Fitzgerald's time in Hollywood, a significant portion of which was apparently spent drinking Cokes. So who knows, guys, maybe I'm about to pen the next Great Gatsby here. Or on the verge of having like 9 kajillion heart attacks before age 40.
I’d like to say I could stop cold turkey, but I know myself well enough to realize that’s a big fat lie. (If it weren’t, I wouldn’t be on, like, a 20-year streak of biting my fingernails and not exercising.) So I think I’ll have to start rationing myself. Maybe weekends only, if we’re at a restaurant, and no refills. That’ll go into effect riiiiight after I polish off this nice crisp 2-liter I got going on. Bottoms up.