Living the decaf life…

Following a post by Robin Warner, a rant on decaf.

You see, I have a guiding principle which steers me away from decaf. It’s based on the idea that fun is temporary – nothing lasts forever and you can have too much of a good thing. So when you enjoy something, really enjoy it. Don’t be half hearted but don’t try to keep doing it to the point where it’s bad for you or no longer fun.

In other words: real butter, real coffee, full strength beer. Just learn to stop when you’ve had enough.

Small talk is the lubricant of social intercourse, to borrow a quote, but it bores me stupid. I need time alone, but when I’m with people I want to talk about things that matter. So, sure, a bit of polite chatter is a necessary protocol, let’s get that out of the way and find out what we’re really passionate about. I guess that makes me impatient… it’s not that I object to the conversational equivalent of flirting or foreplay, they’re both great ways of meeting someone’s heart – but I can’t stand air-kisses.

I’m wrong to object to this. Our culture may no longer be based on Brontë like reserve, but it requires and expects that strong emotions are kept in check. It’s a light beer world. The only strong passions considered acceptable are those which have been neutered and packaged.

Sport. Patriotism. Celebrity.

Fuck that.

What moves me are the raw emotions which don’t fit into easy black and white compartments. Poverty   Humanity   Grace   Armpit hair!!

So here’s a motto to use when you’re reaching for the decaf or when someone offers you an air-kiss instead of a hug:

Enjoy moderation in moderation.

The thing is, I think you can trust your passions, if you relax and take your time. Get drunk and howl at the moon. If you find yourself howling at passers-by, maybe alchohol isn’t for you. But Light beer isn’t for anyone!

The Science Bit

This is all based on the way stimulus works in the human nervous system. We’re designed to respond less and less strongly to the same stimulus as time goes on. So you can’t “chase” an experience you enjoy, especially since the pleasure may decrease but the negative effects increase. The human organism is, after all, a system which maintains its equilibrium in a varied and complex environment – if you overwhelm it with a single poison it doesn’t cope well. Given a range of stimuli and a diverse environment it remains both responsive and balanced.

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