July 30, 2006

Drinking coffee can lead to the prevention of memory loss .

People are always doing studies. Now there's one that says drinking coffee can lead to the prevention of memory loss in old age. This is terrible news. Drinking coffee is one of the few things in life I enjoy. That, and forgetting.

I first started drinking coffee at the age of seven. Even then I knew I wouldn't make it through the day without an incentive to get out of bed. Every morning it was the same: white coffee, two sugars. You know those memory games that children play in the car? I was always winning. Now I know why.

One day, at lunch my science teacher saw me drinking coffee in the cafeteria and complained to my mother. He told her that he didn't think it was a good idea for me to have caffeine at my age, and that's probably why I wasn't paying attention in class. But she told him the reason I didn't pay attention in class was because he was a boring teacher. After that, he left me alone.

But now that I've learnt coffee improves my memory, I'll have to reconsider how much of it I drink.

My memory is so finely tuned as it is, the last thing I'd want is to increase it. I have the ability to recall incredible detail, but nothing useful has ever come of it. I've never been an eyewitness to a crime; I've never had to recite a long poem or testify under oath. Instead, it's only got me into trouble. During my last relationship I would recount entire conversations - sometimes from two years earlier. I'd point out something that was an inconsistency and feel proud as my ex looked stunned. I've found there's nothing a guy loves more than to hear a woman begin a sentence with: "But you said..."

The main problem with having an acute memory is, why would I want to spend my old age recalling parts of my life that while they're happening, I'm not really engaging in? That's why I never take photos. Everyone is so excited about digital cameras but I don't get it at all. I'm not that into reliving the moment when it wasn't that great to begin with.

Not to mention that digital cameras aren't really capturing the moment anyway. They're capturing a moment as long as it's just right: "There I am! See how good I looked in the moment after I made sure I wasn't standing in a way that made me look fat?"

Last summer, when I was in Italy, every morning I would wake up and all I could think about was that soon I would be drinking a double espresso. The time it took between my eyes opening and getting to the tiny cafe in the square where I could be caffeinated was time that did not exist. It was a 15-minute interim during which I managed to brush my teeth, splash some water on my face, get dressed and trudge up the hill. No talking. Once I got to the cafe, I'd order the espresso with hot milk on the side. The only Italian word I learnt was schiuma, which means foam.

I can't imagine a life without coffee. The way some people can't imagine a life without children. So I'm inclined to keep drinking it and suffer the consequences later on. Here's my plan: just when it gets to the point where all the memories start taking over, I'll quit. That way, the cold-turkey migraine headaches and sleeplessness will divert my attention.