For the past couple of weeks strange, vibrant orange bike racks have been popping up around Portland. They’re usually strung with caution tape, and until yesterday, I never saw a bike locked to one. Now, they’re all populated with a fresh fleet of orange Nike bike share cruisers. This morning, the baskets of those cruisers each had a can of Red Bull The Orange Edition waiting for the passerby to snap up. Usually not one to drink such things—in fact I rarely consume caffeine of any kind because it makes me overly high-strung and anxious—I grabbed one out of curiosity. I mean, who wouldn’t want The Taste of Tangerine (artificially flavored) and The Wings of Red Bull? The writing on the can struck me especially hard. It says that “top athletes, busy professionals… and [can you believe it?!] travelers on long journeys” drink Red Bull. Maybe this orange can held the key to my summer success. Here’s what followed:
LOG 7/19/2016 12:06pm. I pull the tab. Pop. Fizz. Let the experiment begin. My first impression of the artificial tangerine flavor: it’s like a motor-oil infused clementine that’s had its acidity levels boosted. I don’t feel any immediate physiological or psychological effects. I will motor on.
LOG 7/19/2016 12:13pm. I’m now about 4 glugs deep. My heart is racing a little bit, an my fingers feel jumpy. I feel kind of like a hummingbird. My throat burns a little bit and my stomach feels funny. I may just be hungry though.
LOG 7/19/2016 12:19pm. I’m having trouble focusing on our practice film showings at Portland Community Media. A slight headache is brewing behind my eyes. My breath is shallow. The can is half empty.
LOG 7/19/2016 12:30pm. No discernible change.
LOG 7/19/2016 12:38pm. I take the last sip just before our practice video plays. My hand starts to itch. My chest feels pressure. My pulse feels faster than usual. I don’t think I’m capable of closing my eyes, even if I really wanted to. I wish I could get this devil juice out of my system.
LOG 7/19/2016 1:26pm. My limbs feel charged with an anxious energy that I doubt any amount or type of movement could deplete. Even as I ride my bike over to Mississippi Pizza to have a group lunch with OPB’s John Sepulvado, the feeling does not go away. It is not the good type of energy; it feels toxic and foreign.
LOG 7/19/2016 2:48pm. I can’t tell whether I can’t focus or if my focusing abilities are just so one-track and intense that I can’t control them. Either way, I fidget a lot as John Sepulvado speaks to us of his fascinating past and future cyborg doomsday hypotheses.
LOG 7/19/2016 4:30pm. A few hours’ distance and eight or so miles on my bicycle seem to have taken the edge off the caffeine high. I stop at the waterfront park in Milwaukie to read for a bit, grateful to be on the other side of the peak.
LOG 7/19/2016 5:45pm. I think I feel normal again. Yay.
Cheers from your humble, caffeine-crashed documentarian,
P.S. Shout out to Tim Rooney for being a fantastic video camera and software teacher!