I need caffeine in the morning. Yes, I know no one “needs” caffeine. I know I *can* do without it. But I don’t wanna.
Years ago, when I was about 50 pounds heavier, I would get up in the middle of the night, go to the refrigerator, and chug a cold can of Coca-Cola, and go right back to bed. I suppose it wasn’t really the caffeine I was after, but rather the sugar. I don’t know how many I would drink on an average day back then, but if I had to guess I think maybe 3-4. Compared to some people’s soda addictions, I guess that wasn’t terrible.
Over the years, I’ve cut way back. But I’ve never been able to completely kick the soda-in-the-morning habit. When Rubies and I were setting up our roommate agreement, I’m pretty sure the first rule was: Don’t drink the last cold Coke. (Also, don’t let us run out of toilet paper.)
Sometime in 2014, I came across the Mountain Dew Kickstart line of soda. I can’t remember what flavor anymore, but it was before they introduced my beloved Limeade. It may have been orange, but that seems wrong, because generally, I hate all things flavored orange (that’s another story, related to years of having to swallow many children’s aspirin on a daily basis most of my childhood). Maybe it was fruit punch, but I’ve never been a huge fan of that either (I think they put orange flavoring in fruit punch… ick.)
I liked it, though, because it didn’t have the aftertaste I usually noticed in artificially sweetened beverages, and a 16-ounce can only had 80 calories. I didn’t like it as much as Coke, but it worked in a pinch. I would grab one now and then when I was at a gas station, but I wasn’t going out of my way to get them.
Then one morning, I noticed a new flavor! Limeade. Prior to this, I was neutral to Mountain Dew. I liked it fine, I might have one if it was offered or if nothing else was available, but it certainly wasn’t my go-to. But I thought I might like it better than whatever flavor I’d been drinking up to this point.
I was addicted within weeks. And they were expensive! And you couldn’t buy them by the carton, only individually – even at Wal-Mart! They were kind of a pain in the ass to come by, actually.
Certain gas stations had them periodically for 99¢. The cashiers at the local Moto-Mart began referring to me as “The Kickstart Lady”. I would come in every weekend and buy up the following week’s supply, making sure I had one for at least every morning I’d be home. I told myself that, if the time came that I couldn’t find them for 99¢, I wouldn’t buy them.
Early mornings, when I was heading to the airport at 4 a.m., I’d scrounge the bottom of my purse for enough change, hands shaking like a crack addict, almost shouting out in joy when I realized I had the $1.89 I’d need to finance my fix. That’s more than the 99¢ budget I’d put myself on, but holy hell, it was 4 a.m.! I’d already been up since 3 a.m.! I deserved it! And it was only 80 calories!
Earlier this year, I started noticing the Limeade flavor being harder and harder to come by. If I found it, I would buy the store out, even if I had a full week’s stock in the fridge already. Something was wrong, I could sense it!
I told Rubies I was having trouble finding it.
She seemed concerned. Gently, she interposed, “I don’t know, Ginger. Maybe this will be a good thing for you.”
For the last two weeks, I’ve been completely unable to find it. I was at a U-Gas when the Pepsi delivery man was there, so I asked him, “Hey, what’s up with the Limeade Kickstart?”
“What’s that? Limeade what?”
“The one in the green can.”
“Hmmm. The only one we have in a green can is, like watermelon.”
“NO NO NO! The one that’s flavored like Mountain Dew. The one in the deep delicious-looking green can!”
“Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. No, they replaced that with Mango-Lime.”
So, my spidey-senses were right…
And according to this, it was discontinued in the United States in March 2017. Now, you can only get in Australia.
I thought about ordering it from Australia, surely there’s a way to do that. But that would be ridiculous.
It WOULD be ridiculous, right? I definitely shouldn’t do that. Right? Right?
With that, I will leave you with my favorite Dan Seals song, which happens to be about a different sort of addiction: