The Real Think vs The Real Thing

Forecasting a hectic day for today, last night I brewed a pot of coffee and filled my ice trays, then chilled both before going to bed, a ritual I occasionally practice in order to wake up to iced coffee.***

The smell of that coffee, though… Two hours later, still tossing and turning in bed, bone-weary yet unable to fall asleep, I realized that — once again — I’d lost precious rest to the suggestion of coffee.

“Can caffeine be transmitted through the air?” I posed to my most Google-reliant co-worker, once I dragged myself in to work. “Ask Science, please, while I hit the Nespresso machine.”

His answer (per “Science”) was that caffeine cannot be transmitted through smell but that, like a placebo, it’s effects can be triggered without consumption.

If that’s true, I have soooooo many responses. Here are a few:

  • Weak. I smelled coffee and somehow subconsciously responded as though I’d partaken? Why not just walk through Starbucks from now on taking Venti-sized breaths, and save myself money?
  • Lame. My mind can mimic the effects of coffee when I’m trying to sleep, but it can’t help me play, “Jeopardy!”? What happened to all those state capitols I memorized? Wait a sec, is it capitol, or capital?
  • Cool! How close to the real thing do I need to get? Because I regularly drive by churches, liquor stores and gyms, and experience zero benefits from inside my car. Should I get near enough to sniff?
  • Please. No tactile pleasure, just side-effects and anxiety? Sounds like —

Anyway, maybe it does work? If so, please enjoy a walk though a rose garden,  a hike through the Easter Sierras, a walk around Manzanita Lake in Lassen, and some Death Valley wildfowers:

Maybe next time we’ll go virtual camping.

***Unfortunately, in my weariness and rush, I prepared my iced coffee, then forgot to drink it. By the time I got home, the ice had turned my creamy coconut-flavored coffee into a big cup of what can best be described as a “Global Warming Denial” drink: a lot of water, and only the faint memory of coffee.

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