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  • Writer's pictureHope Vista


I've been popping tabs open since high school. You know, pulling the tab back on a fresh, ice cold can of soda until it pops the seal open? There's nothing like the crispness of that first sip - but everyone around me says that I have to cut it. Like, completely. Cold turkey. Something that tastes so undeniably refreshing isn't good for you, or something like that. 'It's not healthy' or 'there's chemicals in it'. Which is obvious - it's soda. It's not supposed to be good for you, just provide another option as opposed to tea or coffee. My kryptonite of choice has always been diet Dr Pepper - and now Dr Pepper Zero. It fills my day with sweet-tasting goodness, and a little blip of pure happiness - even if just for one can. But if it isn't good for me, why do I drink it? And more importantly, why do I consistently find myself refusing to give it up?

It's not something that I want to have as a vice - trust me. I know that sodas, especially diet sodas, are filled with a slew of chemicals that aren't exactly nutrient dense. There is zero nutritional value to these drinks, but every day, sometimes even before noon, I find myself opening up my fridge to get my fingers on a can. Pop open the cute little tab. Take a small sip (I can only drink soda in sips - never chug). Immediately feel a wave of fun. It's just a simple can of soda, and caffeine doesn't hit you that quickly upon ingesting it. But I just like the flavor. Is it weird to genuinely enjoy the flavor of a chemically-filled drink? I ask myself that question quite frequently, because many people ask me why I'm so hooked.

We're in a pandemic. That's painstakingly obvious, and it's now been two years since the country first entered lockdown. Some of us sprayed our groceries down with Lysol at first. We tried cooking new recipes that we hadn't dared to attempt before. There was a lot of baking. We were all, and have all, been seeking the taste of something that would bring us sheer joy amidst a world of uncertainty. Food and drink truly have the power to not only connect people, but bring us delight. Flavors are captivating, and many of us have capitalized on that during our times of isolation.

Now, a can of soda is not the same thing as a home-cooked recipe. It's exactly the opposite. But whenever people pester me about what I'm ingesting with each can, my response is quite simple. Like I mentioned earlier, I've been popping open cans of soda since high school. I wouldn't say that I'm a caffeine addict, as I typically have one can a day (sometimes two, I'll be honest there). The caffeine boost does help with my afternoon energy slump to some extent, but that's never been why I drink it.

It's simply something that brings me a few moments of utmost happiness. It's something that I like. It's something I've always liked. A refreshing taste of joy. And that's why I won't stop drinking it. Sure, it's not the healthiest - we're all well aware of that. But during a time that is filled with so much darkness, and uncertainty, and pain, why should any of us stop doing something that brings us any happiness (so long as it's not harming or negatively impacting others)? A soda is so simple - something that I can just grab from the grocery store after a long day of work. If that's all I've got in the moment, I want to just enjoy it, and take a break from life's hardships.

So no, I won't stop drinking soda. It's a minimal joy, but it is a joy. What's yours?

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