One of my friends was in town last weekend. Even though we speak on the phone every week, she doesn’t come to town often, so I was excited to see her. I suggested that we meet at this little breakfast place that serves great French-toast-style brioche. While we waited for the waiter, she told me about her latest therapy appointment and some revelations she had made.
The waiter asked if we were ready to order. My friend went first, but when I asked for maple syrup with my brioche, the waiter said, “I’m sorry. We’re out of maple syrup. We only have the regular kind.”
My mouth fell open. I clasped my heart. My friend gave me a sympathetic look. All of my closest friends know that I abhor imitation syrup. These so-called “regular” syrups are made primarily of corn syrup, and they taste like sugar-flavored ass. I was in such a state of shock that I could not even speak. What kind of breakfast restaurant runs out of maple syrup on a fucking Sunday?
I had been rationing my sugar intake all week! The only reason I didn’t eat ice cream or pizza or cake or pie or cookies or fresh-baked bread or any of the other high-sugar dishes I could subsist on was because I was holding off for my Sunday reward! I went to the gym four times last week as opposed to three (Have I mentioned how much I hate working out?), so I could eat my French-toast style brioche! Goddamnit!!
Finally the waiter said, “I apologize. Would you like to order something else?”
I still couldn’t speak. I was too busy calculating the distance between the restaurant and the nearest grocery store.
“No,” I said.
The waiter left to put in the order. I fumbled through my bag for my wallet and keys. I looked at my friend. “I have to go buy some maple syrup.”
My friend looked stunned, but I could tell she was trying to hide it.
“The store’s not far. I’m sorry,” I said scooting out of the booth. “I know this is extreme. I know I have problems. I can’t do cheap syrup. I been dreaming about this brioche all week. All week. I just can’t. I need my maple syrup.”
“I understand,” she said.
“I’m so sorry.”
“It’s okay,” she reassured me.
I rushed out of the restaurant, ran to my car and sped to the grocery store. I ran at least two red lights. I sometimes speed through a yellow light, but I scarcely ever run red lights. Did I mention that my friend doesn’t come to town often? Did I mention that she was talking about her therapy appointment? She wasn’t crying or anything, but she was talking about something that was emotionally difficult. God, maple syrup is love in a bottle. Did I mention that I’m a fucking asshole?
I was gone 24 minutes. On the way back to the restaurant, I realized that I am worse than an asshole. I’m Gator!
Yes, Gator (Samuel L. Jackson) from Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever. The main differences between me and Gator as addicts are: 1) our preferred addictive substance, 2) sugar and sugar-addiction are socially-acceptable and 3) I’ve never stolen for sugar. But the other symptoms of addiction align pretty damn well. According to Mayo Clinic drug addiction symptoms or behaviors include, among others:
· Using the drug regularly—this can mean daily use or even using several times a day
· Having intense urges for the drug
· Over time, needing more of the drug to get the same effect
· Making certain that you maintain a supply of the drug
· Not meeting obligations and work responsibilities, or cutting back on social or recreational
activities because of drug use
activities because of drug use
· Doing things to get the drug that you normally wouldn’t do, such as stealing
· Focusing more and more time and energy on getting and using the drug
· Failing in your attempts to stop using the drug
· Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you attempt to stop taking the drug
They forgot to mention the tell-tale symptom of addiction: Prioritizing the substance above your personal relationships. So there you have it—My name is Angele, and I’m an addict.