If you were hoping to read a tearful confession about my addiction to demon alcohol, then I’m sorry to disappoint you–no such addiction exists. And if you were afraid to read a gut-wrenching admission that I have succumbed to the allure of illicit drugs, then you will be relieved to learn that temptation has never crossed my mind (not even once).
I must admit, though, that I am by no means perfect (which, of course, you already knew), and I do have a few addictions of my own–compulsive needs that will send me over the brink if I can’t fulfill them. Are you ready? Have I built up enough suspense? I should probably forewarn you that, like every other component of my being, my addictions will be considered by most to be, well … boring.
Chocolate. Since it’s a craving that approximately 99% of the female population shares, it probably shouldn’t even be included as an addiction (more like a necessity, don’t you think?). However, I feel it would be dishonest of me to leave it out since I religiously begin every day with some form of it, and if there are no Ding Dongs, Pop Tarts, or chocolate chip muffins in the house, then I will make a quick dash into the convenience store on the way to school to grab a candy bar or a chocolate-glazed donut. (I usually do have something healthy for breakfast first–oatmeal, fruit, yogurt–this is just my “dessert” after breakfast.) And yes, I know this is bad for me, but I ease my conscience with the reminder that I could be doing something so much worse.
Caffeine. Even stronger than my craving for chocolate is my absolute need for caffeine. I’ve never been a coffee drinker, but give me a Diet Dr. Pepper or a big, refillable glass of iced tea, and I am one happy momma. (Even better is a glass of iced tea from The Old Harlin House Cafe–most refreshing tea in the entire universe!) Deprive me of my DDP or my sweet iced tea, and you will encounter a wrath unimaginable (or, at the very least, a very grumpy old woman).
Information. This is my greatest addiction, the one most likely to send me into withdrawal quivers if I don’t get my daily fix. I didn’t even know a term for my condition existed until I googled it, and sure enough, there it was (44,300 entries in fact)–I am an “information junkie,” someone who craves knowledge and information (when I was growing up, we were more commonly referred to as “nerds”). Please don’t misunderstand me–this doesn’t mean that I’m smarter than anyone else; it just means I’m incredibly curious (and just a little bit odd).
I’m the person who always has a book in my bag, in my car, by my bedside–and another one nearby in case I finish the first one and need something else to start on right away. Admittedly, most of these books are fiction, but I have also recently read books on mountain climbing, Afghanistan, and the Civil War in Missouri (and learned something from every one of them!).
I’m the person who has the news on from 5-7 a.m. every day, again at noon (if I’m home), and again from 5-6:30 p.m.–you never know what might have changed in the world since the last time I tuned in. I need to know! (I learned just last night that it’s Japanese beetles destroying my hibiscus plants, and a veterans’ hospital in St. Louis may have exposed as many as 1,800 vets to hepatitis and HIV.)
I’m also the person who has CNN as the home page on her computer; I also have links there to Web MD, Discovery, NPR News, National Geographic, Science Daily, St. Louis Cardinals, and half a dozen other sites so that I have instant access to all kinds of interesting “stuff.” (Did you know there are at least 175 species of mosquitoes just in the U.S.? Or that the first delivery of a “road-worthy” airplane–a.k.a. “flying car”–is expected in about 18 months with a price tag of $194,000?)
And in my mind, there has been no greater invention in recent times than the Google search engine–everything I have ever wanted or needed to know about everything is at my fingertips within seconds. How cool is that? When I was kid, I had to make a trip to the library to find out this stuff, and then I only had access to what Britannica wanted me to know. Of course, I don’t understand or remember everything I read, but just knowing that the information is there for the taking is so … exciting.
I’ll bet there are millions of people out there just like me, people who have tried to hide behind a screen of normalcy because, let’s face it, being a “nerd” has such a negative connotation (thank you, Hollywood)–“information junkie” sounds so much better. I do know this is one addiction I have no intention of kicking anytime soon. There’s just too much stuff I still need to learn!