Caffeine. It’s every teacher’s best friend. In my case, it is also my nemesis. You see, while most teachers get their caffeine fix from their antioxidant-rich morning cup of coffee, I get mine from an afternoon pick-me-up of Coca-Cola. My name is Mrs. L. And I’m a coke-aholic.
You wanna know what’s even worse? Like most addicts, I try to convince myself that I’m not really a Coke-aholic. I could stop if I wanted to. Didn’t I quit for 9 months while I was pregnant? I tell myself. I even pretend like I don’t have a problem by not keeping any Coke in the house. If it’s not in the house, I won’t drink it, right? Wrong. What do I do instead? I drive through a drive thru and pick some up.
A couple of months ago I was incredulous when I saw on the McDonald’s menu that a small, medium, AND large Coke each cost the same amount: $1! What? I thought. How can this be? This doesn’t make any sense. I ordered a medium. I paid $1 plus tax. The next day I ordered a large. I paid $1 plus tax. I was beside myself giddy-happy. Never mind the fact that I could pay less if I just stopped my neuroticism, bought some at the grocery store and brought it home. I thought I was getting the deal of the century. I’m lovin’ it, I thought.
This love affair went on for several weeks. I became acquainted with the McDonald’s staff. I knew which McDonald’s was most likely to have the best ice-to-soda ratio. I knew which staff member did the best job of wiping any soda drippings off the side of the cup. I was a very chipper, caffeinated Mrs. L.
But then one day it happened. I gleefully drove up to the drive thru speaker.
“Welcome to McDonald’s. What can I get for you today?” came the familiar voice.
“A large Coke, please,” I said with a smile.
“No, thank you,” I said as I began counting out the $1.09 from the change I had collected in the center console of my car.
“Okay that will be $2.14 at the first window,” came back the voice.
I stared at the speaker in disbelief for a few seconds. “O . . . kay . . .” I finally replied.
Darn you, McDonald’s. Darn you and your delicious fries. Darn you.