Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Wherein I Face Death and Live To Tell the Tale, or Alternatively, Wherein I Tell You About Shopping for Sugar

Every morning I wake up extra early, put on an extra fluffy robe and bunny slippers, wash my face, brush my teeth, and then shuffle into the kitchen for a balanced and nutritious breakfast. I read the paper and enjoy an extra large cup of steaming, fresh-brewed coffee while doing the crossword puzzle and watching large, fluffy snowflakes fall softly through the tree branches. Then I get dressed, in an outfit I've carefully laid out the night before, do my hair and make-up, and go to school with plenty of time to spare before my first class.

If you believed a single word of that then clearly we have not met. Hi, I'm Christina. And I value sleep above all things. I would rather sleep 20 more minutes than eat. I would rather sleep 20 more minutes than almost anything else on the planet. I've never laid in a bed that wasn't the most comfortable it's ever been at the exact moment I am expected to get out of it. It is grossly unfair.

Personal hygiene and dressing aside, the only part of the above morning routine that is accurate is the part about the coffee. I need the coffee. And sometimes 20 more minutes of sleep trumps that too. But trust me, eventually there will be coffee in my day. And it should be slightly sweet and well-creamed. The "sweet" component lately has been giving me trouble. Mainly because I learned that the "sweet" is trying to kill me.

It was right after buying yet another box of 500 packets of Equal that I learned that apparently Equal is included on the list of artificial sweeteners that can cause cancer. I didn't pay too close attention, but I'm pretty sure artificial sweeteners also turn your insides black, talk shit about you behind your back, and in some cases they've been known to go over to your mother's house, ring the doorbell, punch her in the gut when she answers the door and then run off.

In the interest of fairness, I guess I should admit I also read several articles that said that artificial sweeteners are perfectly safe and have no negative side effects whatsoever and have never punched your mother. But these sources included such amateur organizations as The National Cancer Institute, The Mayo Clinic, and Time Magazine. Quacks, all of them. I'm choosing to believe the article from the highly prestigious group of medical authorities I read that says different (which may or may not have been a YouTube video. And the prestigious source may or may not have been a clip from the Christian Broadcasting Network. I forget.)

Anyway, I was so alarmed that right after finishing the entire new box of 500 packets of Equal, I immediately began my quest for a new sweetener for my very necessary coffee habit. I bought a box of all-natural, plant based, derived from real sugar, organic, cuddly, zero calorie sweetener. I put two packets in my coffee the next morning. Then another. Then I opened another packet and poured some directly onto my tongue. Guess what happens when you take natural sugar and take out all the calories? You sell 18 packets of it for $5.99 to the stupid girl who thinks Equal is killing her and puts three packets of granulated NOTHING into her coffee.

At this point I considered giving sugar and all derivatives thereof up for good. It's in my best interest, I told myself. I don't need it. Kind of like how I tell myself I fully intend to have a completely natural, drug-free labor and delivery when I do some day become pregnant. And then a couple weeks later I have a single period cramp, curse the good Lord, run to the bathroom and pop two extra-strength Midol, run back to my bed, curl up in the fetal position and moan until the Midol kicks in. Then I moan a little more because of the memory of the one cramp I just had. Who am I kidding? It ain't gonna happen, people.

On my most recent shopping outing, I picked up a bottle of organic agave nectar. Yes it has some calories, but it's from a plant, is all-natural and organic and is delightfully, blissfully sweet. A couple extra calories I can deal with if it means I get to live. Until I find out that agave nectar also plans to punch my mother and riddle me with cancer, which is probably inevitable, because honestly, what isn't trying to kill us? But in the meantime, I am enjoying my coffee sweet and sans the feeling that my insides are slowly rotting, my sleep ample and preferably uninterrupted, and my uterus medicated and quiet. The way God and the Christian Broadcating Network intended.


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