I have been off my 44 oz. Diet Cokes since school started.
The 44ozDC was not abandoned due to an intervention. Nor because of cost, taste, tooth discoloration, The Jitters, a bleeding ulcer, kidney stones, sleeplessness, or a healthier lifestyle. No, the mitigating factor in the cessation of my sweet, unsweetened libation is TIME. Lack of time. Time is not on my side.
I prefer to sip my magical elixir in my dark basement lair. From it, I draw inspiration. In short, ice-cold sips. A 44ozDC purchased at 11:00 a.m. may not be completely consumed until 6:00 p.m. Extra ice is added, of course, in irregular increments. Now, I cannot relax with my liquid gold in the leisurely manner I so desire. It must sit on the kitchen counter, ignored like a new kid in the school cafeteria, until my meal preparations are complete. Then I might have from 6:00 until 8:00 to sip. The spell is broken if I haul a 44ozDC out to the TV area. It's not the same.
Don't you worry none about Val and her hydration. On Saturdays and Sundays, my beverage and I are besties again. We pick up like we never left off.
Saturday, I pulled up at the 80-cent refill store. Hopped out of my Tahoe like a kid at the carnival. I strode purposefully through the door. Jauntily waved my refill cup toward the front counter. No need to make eye contact with them. I'm a regular. I'm almost surprised that they don't all holler, "Norm!" each time I walk in. When the line is backed up with a lottery scratcher, the cashiers will sometimes hold out their hand for my correct change, and put it on the counter until they can ring it up. Meanwhile, my liquid buddy and I hit the road.
On this day, I had my three quarters and one nickel clenched in my fist, along with four dollar bills. It was PowerBall day for me. When I stepped up to the counter, I saw a familiar face. The Woody to my Norm. A former student from my school. He was never in my classes, but his three brothers were. And I saw him in the hall every day. During this long, hot summer, he taunted me with questions of when school was starting. Which is something you should never ask a teacher. Seriously. Make a Note To Self. He asked how school was going. So I said, "Please give me four dollars on PowerBall." We shared a laugh. I handed over my four bills and change. He pushed the change away. Shook his head.
I have connections.