Shower Coffee: The Results
In my initial post on Shower Coffee, an amateur endeavor in neuroscience, I declared that I would test the separate and combined effects of consuming caffeine and showering on creative expression. This would be done in a four-part experiment replicating a legitimate study that mapped the neural correlates of creativity through freestyle rap.
The results of Shower Coffee returned from the lab packaged tightly in a sterile urine container.
Let the research show that while I may never be awarded a Grammy or a Nobel Science Prize, at least I can say that I tried.
Day One: The Control
On the first day of my experiment I performed a freestyle rap prompted by a random word from a Snapchat follower without drinking coffee or being in the shower. The first Snap that I received was a message from my sister Marla that simply read, "Pink". Lacking an ounce of caffeine in my body, I sluggishly turned up an instrumental ~trap beat~ and let the lyrics flow:
"Pink is a thing that I got on my mind/ Cuz I got it on my sweater and I got it on my face/ It’s pink."
Nothing of significance here. The verses are observational rather than artistic, characteristic of a coffeeless Monday morning.
Day Two: Sweet Caffeine
I prepared a fresh carafe of "espresso roast" coffee in my French press and gulped it down in the name of science. In hindsight, this brewing method was a European anomaly but I am a proponent of ethnic beverage equality. I munched on a broken muffin iteration of Emily's Coffee Cake recipe until the buzz set in, seeking out Snapchat for a word to prompt my dope rhymes. My sister submitted once again, this time with three-word phrase challenge, "Old Spanish Teacher".
Donning my Nana's dusty mink from the broom closet where forgotten articles of clothing are stuffed, I got jiggy with the funk times™.
"Old Spanish teacher ain't a new Spanish teacher/ She’s old, she’s got vieja/ Juevos rancheros/ HAPPY CINCO DE MAYO!"
Look at that! I achieved an elaborated turn of phrase peppered with high school Spanish and only mild traces of cultural appropriation. Thank you, coffee, for revving my adrenaline and shoving tact out of the window like a baby grand piano in slapstick cartoons.
Day Three: Shower sans Coffee
I strapped on my dog's plus-size rain poncho as a turtleneck dickie to preserve the small reservoir of humility left within and stepped in the shower to let my thoughts wander. When I felt that my state of mind was zen enough to qualify as an incubation period, I reached out to pick up a Snap. It was my mom's friend, Liz, who suggested the #OOTD influenced words, "rain jacket".
A cappella, I spat,
"Rain jacket in the shower is appropriate/ Cuz it’s raining on my head and in my conditioner/ Got some rain jacket/ Some suds in my hood."
Advanced vocabulary. Imagery. Syncopation. Could it be that my deep conditioned thoughts lent themselves to natural poetic improvisations?
Day Four: Shower Coffee
The epic finale of my scientif-ish series was a trial to test whether dopamine 's shower power would be supercharged or inhibited by the addition of caffeine. With a dog dickie on fleek and a face mug full of coffee, I settled into the shower to enjoy a morning brew in the buff. I exfoliated and shaved three-quarters of my calf as precious coffee splattered and washed down the drain.
I gave up on my other leg to freestyle a final time based on the word prompt "tropical".
"Uh, uh. Tropical drink in my mug/ Ain't in my cup cuz I don’t give a fuh./ Can you curse on Snapchat?/ I dunno— there’s no censorship laws."
Valid point, Yung Mia; there are no censorship laws on Snapchat due to the fact that most of society respects its impermanence rather than re-posting its content to YouTube to live on for eternity.
What did the statistics and brain scans during my freestyles show? I'm not quite sure. Did I mention that left-brain thinking was never my strong suit?
The amateur conclusion that I can draw is that creativity is not meant to be measured. The inhibitor of my study was neither caffeine nor cortisol, but the inclusion of a spectator audience. When pressured to manufacture a state of flow, the result is a strained artistic product.
I spoke with Liam, the inspiration behind my experiment, who reminded me of shower coffee's intention. It's a meditative moment of solitude with his mug — not a life hack as I wrongfully suggested.
With this change in perspective I decided to conclude my experiment with an undocumented fifth trial that fit in to my daily routine. Rather than halfheartedly sipping my morning lemon water tonic while preparing mirepoix for dinner, I brought it in to the shower to just *be*.
I remembered to DVR the Bachelorette for my mom.
I outlined the conclusion of this silly study.
I conceived of a way to flavor my shrimp and asparagus risotto in the unfortunate absence of white wine, and most importantly, shaved the other half of my leg.
The next time that you need to cleanse pour a shower beverage of choice, be it coffee or hot lemon water. Crank up the heat lamp and toss your dog's dickie aside to let the viscous mind sludge wash over.