The bubbliness … the fizziness … and who could forget the oh-so-sweet sweetness coupled with that sugary, caffeinated rush? My lifelong struggle with soda addiction comes screeching back to square one every so often when I consider its incomparable taste and disregard the consequences to my health and well being.
Most of the time I’m good about it, but Tuesday was not one of those days. I can pass up bottled and can cokes any day, but once their fountain-borne counterpart crosses my mind, the situation becomes harder for me to control.
There’s just something about the flavor of a (non-diet) soda freshly mixed out of a fountain machine where the levels of syrup and carbonation are exactly right. It’s like the soda is born in your cup, because before the ingredients were separated.
Of course, in my former days as an employee at fast food restaurants, sometimes the carbonated water dispenser would break on the fountain machines, leaving the unadulterated soda syrup to fill my cup by itself. That was especially pleasant.
But in those high school days, I went way over the deep end of cola consumption. The fast food joint in our town sold 42-ounce cokes for 42 cents back then. My friends and I would routinely refill our unreasonably large cups three times a day, five days a week. That put me at right under one gallon of cola per day.
And when I say one gallon a day, I mean exactly that. I always asked for no ice in my cokes. Ice in fountain beverages is pointless. The drink comes out cold from the fountain, the ice takes up space that would otherwise would be filled with Atlanta’s finest nectar, and then the ice melts, watering down the soda. I knew what I was doing back then.
As the years dragged on, however, I knew I couldn’t keep that up. For one thing, you can’t just drink a barrel of coke and go run a mile. At least I can’t. My stomach gets all crampy and I run short on breath quickly.
I guess it’s good that I’m not planning a Tuesday run, then, because I recently finished a large, iceless soda I purchased in a moment of weakness. Sometimes weakness is pretty tasty.