Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Coffee and Cigarettes

I recently traveled to New York City for a family get together/celebration. I had occasion to use the Long Island Railroad, and on one part of the trip, sat next to a woman who was traveling to visit relatives on Long Island. Her speech was heavily accented, and what the accent was, I am not sure. We chatted some, it was a pleasant interchange. She made a very interesting observation:

We were talking about the changes in the city. She mentioned she had only taken an "air ride" once before. I had previously heard the term, but was not sure what it meant. I think, though, it meant the kind of train in which we were riding: smooth, little ambient noise, compared to the clacking, whooshing roar of some of the other trains and subways.

This woman also talked about how much cleaner the city was... I had to agree, although it has been 10 or 12 years since I was in New York City, and then, I was in lower Manhattan...But, I will say that my forays to Central Park, the Empire State Building, Grand Central Station and Time Square during this trip left me with the impression that the city was not as dirty as I had recalled.

The most interesting observation of this co-traveler was about coffee and cigarettes. She noted that years ago everything was filled with cigarette smoke: subways, trains, restaurants, etc... She commented now, that everyone has coffee with them... I began to think about it, and in many ways, she is right: think of how many Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts as well as local, non-chain coffee shops there are...And, what would happen to someone if they were denied their caffeine fix for a day..

I have long since said that people in AA change one addictive behavior for (an)other(s). I think AA members use coffee, cigarettes,and sometimes mints or other suckers to keep me from drinking. I think this woman's observations were right on target: The city is noticeably cleaner, but we now have caffeine addicts running around, trying to find another substitute and using caffeine as their "drug of choice."

Labels: ,