I had a Coke yesterday. Maybe not exotic to some of you, but I made a conscious decision in July of 2013 to stop drinking soda pop. Too much corn syrup in my life. Too many chemicals. Not healthy.
Summer 2013 was kinda one of those big ones. At least for me. Major emotional breakdown. In a good way, because I realized that I wasn’t happy. Hadn’t been happy in a while. Needed to make changes. Drastic ones.
Had been single for a while at that point. Wheels spinning in place. Gears grinding.
Decided I was making changes.
I do this every June. Become someone else. Usually, subtle. Small changes. Stack rank my life and look at it. Throw out a hobby or something and rearrange the rest.
2013, I tossed most of me into the garbage and moved on. Decided to be happy. Worked, too, because not long after that I ran into the Fabulous Publisher Babe™ ^again^ and many of you know how that turned out.
Stopped drinking soda pop. Didn’t get a haircut again for a couple of years, so it ended up past my shoulder blades at one point. Starting eating far healthier.
Since then, I’ve had a couple of sips of something and one root beer float.
Yesterday, a group of writers got together for lunch. We used to do this in the old days monthly, but that kinda fell apart in 2020 for all the obvious reasons. Hadn’t put it back together until now.
We used to go to The Rock Pizza. The old franchise in Alderwood is apparently a Chinese joint today. The more recent place ^said^ they were open on the weekend, but were only doing takeout when we got there.
Ended up at a fast food Italian place down the road. I ordered the chicken fettuccine Alfredo. Let’s just say that it was about as flavorful and exciting as what we around here call “mommy blogger food.”
But they also had bottles of Coke in a bin of ice. Mexican stuff, supposedly with real sugar. Haven’t had one of those in quite possibly a decade. Grabbed it, popped the top, had a sip.
Underwhelming, much like the food. The company was excellent. Made up for the rest, but that Coke was…I don’t even know what to say.
I stopped drinking sugary stuff and weaned myself off of sweet for the most part. These days, I drink Spindrift, which tends to be a teaspoon of fruit juice in a can of carbonated water, without added sugar.
The coke was sweet, but in a yucky way. Industrial. Chemical. Drank it, so that I could say that I had, but didn’t really enjoy it. These days, I’ll order an Arnold Palmer in the evening, unless I get some wine. Coffee up until about 2pm. Granted, I’ll put sugar in the coffee, but ijits around here think that coffee beans roasted to only a four are for wimps. I know places where you can get a six. The asphalt you drive on to get there is probably only a five.
Rain makes the locals crazy, so they roast coffee to a six. Yuck. Like the Coke.
But for me, it provided a perfect snapshot back nine years. She and I have a running joke about something being “Three Days Ago” and thus forgotten or irrelevant, depending.
This was nine years. I’m coming up on the anniversary of her in a month. And our seventh married in July. And meeting her for the first time fourteen in the fall.
He was angry. Unhappy. At an emotional breaking point. Fortunately, it all worked out well and nobody ended up destroyed.
But that bottle of Coke framed it. Brought all back.
Yuck. And everything along with it.
Happier these days. Having far more fun. Looking forward to things, when a lot of those old cohorts are trapped lamenting the loss of “how it used to be.”
Bruce Springsteen covered it in “Glory Days” and I look at some of those folks and understand what he was talking about. But I don’t ever want to go back. Not there. Not other places. I get to live in an amazing moment with good friends.
And look at that empty bottle of Coke and celebrate who I have become instead.