A bottle of Coke

I used to love drinking Coke. It has been my favorite soft drink since an off handed conversation with a new classmate & friend​​ during orientation to college, in which he so enthusiastically described being from Atlanta “and of course I’m loyal to Coke” which got me thinking for the first time about how something as simple as a commercial product can be so complexly attached to communities and people.

So I’m not sure how to feel that the only lingering symptom of Covid I can concretely identify is that, even 8 months later, Coke will randomly taste like detergent. It’s not perfectly consistent and I have been testing it out in its many variants of existence: fountain soda Coke, glass bottled Coke, plastic bottled Coke, canned Coke, even diet or cherry Coke. It’s unpredictable and I can’t find a clear consistent association… except that it’s a real parosmia. It seems like a small thing, it should be a small thing… shouldn’t it?

Perhaps the simple thing would be to stop drinking Coke or to not finish the bottle when the smell hits me. It’s probably not good for me anyways and there are all sorts of positive changes it may represent as an opportunity. I’ve lectured myself nearly weekly about this.

And yet… every time I see a bottle or have a choice of drink, I’ll challenge myself and my senses of taste and smell. I’ll pick at that scab because I don’t want to feel like I’ve given up, like I’m still weak or broken, like this damn virus has won. I guess that’s just who I am: stubborn, frustrated, thirsty to feel normal.


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