In my family, tea is not just a drink. It's a tradition, a medication, a tranquilizer, the focal point of family connection, the buffer between the workday and the evening and between a busy day and bedtime. My parents have tea every evening about the time normal people are eating dinner. If my sister or I has to drop over for something--to drop off a borrowed book or pick up some of the stray mail that still goes to our parents house or any of a hundred other possible meaningless little tasks, we time those visits for "tea time". When I was married, "Do you want some tea?" was a phrase that made my husband cringe; he knew it meant we'd be there for a while.
My family drinks regular tea, the kind that Salada and Lipton make in boxes of 100 tea bags, and I like that kind. But I also like Earl Grey, and Raspberry, and Lemon Spice, and Orange Spice, and...well, you get the idea.
The thing is, I don't really drink tea anymore, unless I'm at my mother's house. Or at least, I haven't in a long time. That doesn't make a lot of sense from a purely objective standpoint, but in my Pavlovian world tea isn't just a drink, it's a state of mind. There hasn't been much room for that state of mind in my life over the past couple of years. I can drink coffee while I'm getting ready for work. I can drink coke while I'm driving or water while I'm folding the laundry, but tea has a context. Tea is meant to be consumed slowly, over conversation or a novel. I can WRITE and drink tea, but I can't drink tea on a conference call or on the morning train. Or rather, I could, but it would be wasted.
As I've been wrapping up the last thing standing between me and having One Civilized Job over the past few days, I've been carving out pockets of time. Some of those pockets are for things like putting away the mountain of clean laundry that's been accumulating on my love seat, but others are for reading, writing, promoting my blogs, talking on the telephone, watching a movie...things I haven't done in a long time. So I had occasion to look to the left of the coffee in my kitchen cabinet this weekend, and here's what I found:
Orange Spice tea
Lemon Lift tea
Earl Grey tea (regular and decaf)
Raspberry Royale tea
I even found a box of cherry vanilla tea, but I didn't count it because I haven't tasted it yet. I'm a little wary of it.
Apparently, I've had all these teas all along. I just haven't thought to drink them. How crazy is that? For two years, I've been too busy to HAVE A CUP OF TEA?
I'm making up for lost time, though. In the past 48 hours, I've had them all.
Well, except the cherry vanilla.