Funny that the day I wrote of caffeine last was April 12th. April 12th is a caffeine-related holiday. That's right: it's not just David Cassidy's birthday. It's also the date in 1989 on which I bet Tina Randolph that I could go a year without diet Coke.
In college I had been a drinker of TaB (in addition to Dr. Pepper & Mr. Pibb), and, as a mixer with vodka, of Fresca, but when diet Coke came along (late in my sophomore year?), I became a fiend for the stuff. Just crazy. Drank at least 8 or 10 cans as many days as not. B&W-photographed a can of it centered, solitary, in the frost-filled (not -free) freezer of the dorm suite fridge, and the reverent altar feeling of the shot was no coincidence. I swear, that liquid concoction has something in it that makes you want to drink more of it. Makes you thirsty, and thirsty in particular for more of it. Tina was right to scoff at my assertion that I could give it up.
But I'd done some playing with going "off" habits during Lents, as Denise was rather into Lent, and I had a hunch I could do it. 'Sides, I wanted to. The stuff seemed evil. All that money to show how safe aspertame was, v. saccharin, and just the pointlessness of soda as a regular beverage---particularly diet pop, which is just (as I used to say) chemicals and water. (Of course, so are we, but that's beside the point.) This was before my thinking much on global economies and capitalism, but I had managed at least to pick up on the consumerism surrounding fizzy beverages.
So the winner of our bet was to win being taken to the movies by the other---catch: in any city in the U.S. of the winner's choosing. I said I'd pick New York. I said I'd even drive, and pay for the gas. (She was a student.) And indeed, I won, but we never did get it together for the cashing in. I could go on about the taste & smell of diet Coke when you're on it vs. off it, and how dangerously quickly the "off it" state reverts to the other, but I'll skip that business here. I've already gone on rather very. Let's just note that, apart from a test sip here & there, I've been off that sauce ever since.
Wonder what happened to ol' Tina. I just tried to Google her, to no avail. Tried "Bettina" and "Battina," too, it suddenly hitting me that her given name was something like that.
She was a good egg. Fun. A little buck-up(-even-if-forcédly) eager to be up/on/goofy, or something like that, and thus hard to be serious with, but that was okay. Well, there was that VERY serious time we couldn't get served in Sanders' Corner, up north of Towson---a chagrinning white privilege/ignorance realization moment for me. And she was a serious basketball player when we took on those sisters and (nonetheless) got our asses kicked, and our breasts elbowed, and our matching red T-shirts. Yoke! Zeug! That's just a little reward for any of ya'll who are still reading this stream-of-c.