i gave up drinking diet coke a year ago last may.
i punctuate this with a question mark because i can't think of when exactly it was that it happened--the passing of diet coke from my life.
it's a funny thing when you stop drinking it. you still crave it but it never tastes the same. not even close. in fact it tastes just plane awful. and empty.
i started drinking soda water instead because i found the thing i missed most was the hit of carbonation.
yes, i said hit. yes, it is my drug of choice this thing called carbonation.
why did i stop drinking diet coke?
well, the fake sugar actually.
i could go on and on about how bad it is. about how the onset of wide-spread obesity in this country can basically be traced back to the introduction of artificial sweeteners. about how it actually makes you crave food (carbohydrates especially). jeffrey steingarten wrote a really interesting article for vogue about all this. however, where jeffrey failed is that he didn't discuss how artificial sweeteners actually change how the brain tastes sweet. suddenly real sugars aren't so exciting. and so we stop craving and eating real food. and this is, how to say... really dangerous.
look i'm not judging anyone who drinks diet coke. not by a long shot. i get it, i really do. this wasn't mean to be the point of the post. just the preface. so let me try again...
i have found soda water harder to come by here in utah. i have to be really forward about making sure i always have some in my fridge, i can't just run to the corner store if i find i've unexpectedly finished my last bottle of canada dry. it took me some time to learn this and because i often found myself without, i began to turn to the gorgeous silver frosted cans in the fridge bearing the emblem of the alter at which i prayed for a very long time:
it wasn't good the first can. nor the second. but after not so long it began to taste like itself--like really good. like leave-me-alone-i'm-having-a-moment-here good.
and this scared me. this was the start of the slippery slope. diet coke is my gateway drug. it leads to gummy candies and whole bags of tortilla chips and store-bought frosting (and i hate store-bought frosting, in fact i am diametrically opposed to it).
all of this--this long-winded-nesss--is to say, i've passed the diet-coke phase of my life.
in fact, i've passed quite a few phases now.
i'm past the point where i'm okay with dirty dishes being left in the sink. or where i'll sit down on the couch and just watch the E! channel. i think trashy magazines are precisely that: trashy. and i find value in cooking a meal. in eating real food. i like going to bed at a reasonable hour.
because somewhere in all these passed through and now past phases i'm learning a little something about growing up. and responsibility. and the fact that actions have consequences. and maybe i'm a little late to the party, but i don't think so, it all feels right on schedule.
i'm gonna be twenty-five soon. and i can't wait. it feels like a good age. i think i'm gonna have a big party. with an american-in-paris theme (the thought for that went as follows: 25--1925--the lost generation of writers--ex-pats in Paris). i think it's perfect--lots of stripes and berets and red-lipstick and a smorgasbord of cheeses, grapes, wines, and crackers. and champagne, who could forget the champagne?! yes, the party will be grand, the age will be grand. and life will move-on, forward.
you couldn't pay me to go back to twenty-two, the college years, and a sink full of dirty dishes. no sirree.