An Open Letter to Megan, from the Gym, Who Gave Up Caffeine Recently
Hi Megan. It’s me. The woman on your right in spin class. We’ve never met but you’ve been shouting “IT HURTS SO GOOD” in my ear every time the instructor says that we’re going uphill. No judgment on the shouting, by the way. I can see that you’re having a lot of fun but, if I’m being honest right now, it’s seven in the morning. I understand that everyone has different sleep-wake cycles and, as a fellow mom, I’m happy you’re making time for yourself, but I guess my main argument against the shouting is that it’s seven in the morning. I’m sure your enthusiasm is appropriate for some situations. If you had a teammate who was underperforming at the Olympics and you wanted to support her from the stands, you might shout, “Ay-ay-ay-ay-ay!” or “IT HURTS SO GOOD!” but, again, to reiterate my own perspective, it’s SEVEN. O’CLOCK. In the MORNING.
Real question: Are you an Olympian? I don’t mean a competitive athlete. I mean, are you one of the twelve major deities once worshipped in the Ancient Grecian world? My body cannot seem to register you as human when you’re shouting in my ear. Why is that? I know you’re probably thinking, “Well, why are you always smiling at me, then, silly?” but I want to clarify that what’s happening with my face is what happens to dogs in horror movies that automatically bare their teeth in haunted houses. “Grrrrr. This is uncanny and unfamiliar. Grrr. Look how threatening I am. Grrrr. It’s seven in the morning” I’m basically giving you German-Shepard-in-a-horror-movie-face because it’s my body’s instinctive way of asking you, “Why?” “How?” and “Are you serious right now? It’s seven.”
Last class, I overheard you saying that you gave up coffee to regulate your energy levels after you announced it, unprompted, to the group. I have some follow-up questions for you, namely: Seriously? and Do you understand how caffeine works? Coffee is actually the exact remedy for every problem you’re describing right now.
Let me walk you through my night, last night, to illustrate some of the ways that coffee gets me through the day. I left work at 5PM, sat in traffic for an hour, and made it home just in time to get my four-year-old to Spring Sing. Spring Sing is the one night a year when my kid stands still for ten minutes so, when we got home, he needed to burn up the rest of his energy by pretending he was a lemur. He’s a real method actor, my son. He picks a role and he sticks to it and, I don’t know if you know this, Megan, but lemurs are super-strong climbers. Evidently, lemurs have no problem climbing atop a refrigerator and sitting there for hours until a person opens the refrigerator door to pour a glass of wine and then BOOM! IT’S LEMUR TIME!
Lemurs really prioritize the element-of-surprise like this. You might be thinking, “I’ve never known a lemur to intentionally startle someone. That seems like behavior that is more appropriate for a human child,” but here’s the thing, Megan. When you extend your screen-time by ten hours a day to get everyone through a public health crisis, you learn that there are 115 more videos about lemurs than you thought there were. And you can’t just argue back with your kid every time he tells you that lemurs only eat buttered pasta and chocolate chips, because there are 115 lemur videos that you’ll have to watch to ever be able to argue back with him. It’s quite possible that, at this point in time, lemurs are very funny pranksters who leap directly on your shoulders to startle you at 10 PM. As moms, we just can’t know.
Oh, did you think lemurs went to bed? Incorrect. Lemurs are also very nocturnal even after you tuck them in. I walked by my lemur-child’s room at 10:30, 11, and 1 AM and he was staring, unblinking, at the ceiling. I awoke at 5 AM to find him peering directly into my face after my German Shephard instincts told me that I was being watched and breathed on. You’d be amazed by the lemur sleep cycle, Megan. Lemurs can stay awake for DAYS at time. And I’m sure you’re saying to yourself, “Why did you extend screen time to ten hours in the first place? You never would have needed this much coffee in the first place if you’d set boundaries up front.” I don’t have an answer for you except that I was very tired, it was seven in the morning, and I have never been the type of mom to shout, ‘It hurts so good’ in the middle of a workout, so you enjoy your caffeine-fast and your uphill cycling. On behalf of the other lemur-moms in this class, I’m sticking to coffee.
The Mom on Bike 26