I realize that energy drinks, those little insidious bottles of chemicals, are ubiquitous at this point, but I don’t really have much desire to try them. With names like 5-Hour Energy, and 5-Hour Maximum Strength, I am to be leery of a tiny plastic bottle, shaped a bit like a bomb, that promises oodles of healthy energy with no side effects nor crash at the end. It just doesn’t seem right.
The other morning, I had an early flight and called the local taxi service for a ride to the airport. As I slipped into the back of the cab, I greeted my driver who excitedly spat his return greeting over the top of my ‘ing’ of my ‘good morning’. Clearly he was in a hurry, had places to go, and he wanted to go immediately. As soon as my rear hit the seat and my remaining foot left the asphalt, he hit the accelerator. I had noticed the brightly colored, bullet shaped bottle peeking out from the bag of his supplies tucked next to him on the front seat. Sometimes I sit quietly, but sometimes I simply can’t help myself. I glanced at the name badge and said, “Hey Brad, I see you have one of those energy drinks …”
Before I could finish question, Brad erupted with excitement at the prospect he had potentially found a kindred spirit in the world of bottled energy … five hours at a time. After being informed that I didn’t drink them, Brad began his accelerated dissertation on the virtues, health benefits, and complete safety of the boost bombs. For years he continued, Brad has been turning himself from what was likely a reasonably normal person, into a Jimmy John’s talking, overclocked human, race car driving maniac. According to Brad, it was all completely safe and without any harmful side effects. To punctuate his endorsement, Brad said it was time for his morning drink, ripped the cap off the bottle peeking from the bag, and downed it in one quick gulp. Being a social juice junkie, he pulled another out of his bag and offered it up. I politely declined.
As we rocketed towards the airport, weaving and bobbing through traffic as if they were cones on an obstacle course, my sarcastic amusement began to transform into apprehension, and then a good dose of anxiety. I offered up to Brad that I had plenty of time before my flight, but as the second dose kicked in, I began to imagine him moving into hyper-reality, much like the original Star Trek episode where they had to alter Kirk’s metabolism so that he may communicate with the speedy aliens that were heard by normal humans as only an annoying buzz. I am quite sure he could no longer keep focused on my slow talking. And he was most certainly annoying to me.
Fortunately, our trip was nearly over as he rounded the curve heading into the airport passenger drop area. I believe he had almost enough speed going to get that cab up on two wheels, as he simultaneously scanned the chaos of cars jockeying in and out of curb position. As he neared my airline sign, he spotted the last open spot next. Like a NASCAR driver throwing his car into a pit space at maximum speed, Brad was proudly executing a slide into the targeted spot. It all was working well, until the moment the car he was pulling in front of pulled forward and harpooned the taxi on the passenger side rear door.
As I slide across the rear seat, and opened the remaining rear door that operated, I said as quickly as possible, “Well, Brad … I guess sometimes those drinks do have a crash on the end.” I am quite sure I lost his attention after a word or two.