CREDOS : Kicking the habit — I

I haven’t wanted to talk to anyone about this, but last week my husband came downstairs for breakfast and caught me yelling at the toaster. Much to his credit, he didn’t take sides. Instead, he just patted my shoulder consolingly and said, “Honey, I think you need

to cut down on your caffeine.”

“What do you mean?” I said. “I can handle my coffee. It’s not my fault the toaster your mother gave us for Christmas has a temperamental attitude. I pushed down the handle, and it’s just sitting there, refusing to heat up.

And for your information, buddy, I have better things to do than hang around here in the kitchen all morning waiting for it to feel like making toast. So I ask you, then, what the hell am I supposed to do? What? What? WHAT?” I grabbed him by the lapels.

“Now, maybe it’s me,” he continued, “but lately, you seem a little, well, edgy.

“Believe me, I am as shocked as you are. Like nearly everyone else on the planet, I have about one, maybe two cups of coffee a day - especially if you don’t count the cup or two of pre-coffee that I drink in the morning until I can get to my real cup at the coffee bar down the street.

And I have always considered my after-dinner cups of instant as more of a nightcap. So I did what any devoted wife would do: I called my friend Barb for a second opinion. “Say, have I been a little, you know, testy lately?” I asked. There was silence for a moment. —