Providence, RI, USA
Along the northeast coast of the United States, there is a cozy seaside town known as Providence. It is a town that is often associated with its many universities, including Brown, and (for better or for worse) the TV show Family Guy. If you live there, however, you'll soon notice one of the city's other distinct features: coffee. Providence has the most coffeeshops per person (eat your heart out, Seattle) out of any city in the country, and one particular one quickly caught my attention after moving there. It is called Coffee Exchange.
The place prides itself over a huge variety of fair-trade coffees from all over the world, and will always freshly grind it in store for any customer. But while that's all well and good, it's not what I'll remember most from that place, because, you see, Coffee Exchange makes a particularly special drink. It is this drink, which is truly special, daring, and insane, that I'll never forget as long as I live. It is called The Ambulance Chaser, a most fitting name. And what's in the drink? Well, they first take a standard coffee cup... then fill it with eight shots of espresso. No milk, no sugar, just highly concentrated caffeine, and a whole lot of it.
Initially, I told myself it was too dangerous. I like caffeine, I thought, but I couldn't do that. It can't be safe for human consumption. I tried to dismiss the idea, but it kept creeping back. Every day I walked past, I could hear it beckoning me. "Billy, try me. Take a chance and live for the moment. I can show you a world beyond your wildest dreams!" Slowly but surely, my defenses began to chip away, and one overcast day in early April, I finally caved. Every fiber in my body yelled, "No," but my subconsious insisted, "Oh yes." I entered the earthy colored store and was instantly greeted by the wonderful aroma of fresh ground coffee. Before I could fully perceive what was happening, I thrust a $5 bill forward and shouted "AMBULANCE CHASER!" at the friendly looking, tattooed barista. I was then handed what I purchased.
I cupped it in my hand and opened the lid. It was nearly black in color and the consistancy was similar to that of syrup. This is it. This is really it. I exited the store, planning to take it back to my flat and drink it slowly... but that didn't happen. Less than a minute later, I took a sip, then another. It was strong, very strong, but good. I want it all, and I want it now! Soon I finished, both nervous and excited about what was going to happen. Then, minutes later, I got my answer. All of the sudden, I felt my heart rate get faster and faster. Beads of sweat began rolling down from my temples, and my hands began to tremble.
I felt like Superman on crack: with the strength and energy to leap over tall buildings, but with uncontrollable tremors and a runny nose. I entered my apartment with the energy levels still rising like the one of NASA's rockets off the platform. I needed to do something to combat this, and I needed to do it fast. I looked around and saw my running shoes. That's it! I thought. I'll run the energy and caffeine out of me. Still shaking, I put them on and left for the door.
I looked around outside. Everything seemed to have stopped. People and cars all were in a standstill, while I had transformed into a ravenous version of Looney Tunes' Road Runner. I ran, and ran... and ran... for over two hours non stop. This is a task that would be challenging and exhausting, but today it was not. By the time I finished, I still felt as if my eyes were about to pop out of my head. What do I do? Just as I thought this, I heard a car in the driveway. It was my roommate, Dan. He walked in.
"Dan," I said still shaking, "We need to go to a bar. Now."
Dan looked a bit confused, but as usual he was always up for a drink, "Yeah, sure," he replied, "Why the urgencey?"
"You know the Ambulance Chaser from Coffee Exchange? I drank it. All of it. I don't want to party, I just want to drink so I can sleep"
He laughed. "Jeez dude, your insane. Yeah, let's go!"
I entered the car, still shaking to the point I thought I might damage the vehicle. Heart palpitations were beginning to commence. We then drove and drove for what felt like an hour (turned out to only be like 5 or 6 minutes) and then stopped in front of a one of the townie bars. I jumped out of the car and made it into the bar before Dan shut off the engine. I sat and ordered a round of the darkest stout on the menu, and then another, and another. I still felt wired out of my mind, but something odd started to take place. I began to feel light-headed and dizzy. Then I remembered that I'd ran who-knows how many miles without eating. It was time to go.
Later that night, I attempted sleep, hoping the depressant of alcohol somewhat combated the stimulant of caffeine. I laid down, but my eyes wanted to stay open. I knew it was midnight and time to sleep, but it eluded me. I kept feeling the urge to get up and start jumping on the futon like when I was five. I tossed and turned, again and again until around 4am when finally I was able to drift off into the land of nod. I could regret or lament this experience, but to be fair, I wanted to feel the true power of the Ambulance Chaser, and it truly lived up to the hype. My curiosity was satisfied. I played with fire and accepted the inevitable burn.