Friday Morning Tea

About eight years ago, I decided to be a devote coffee drinker. It started when I decided I wanted to be cool and go to the coffee shop where all the cool kids were hanging out at. By cool kids, I mean the dirty outcasts that had trained their faces to not grimace when sipping espresso or black coffee. I had been drinking coffee with my parents since elementary school, though I always put lots of flavored creamer in it. The kids at the coffee shop were all from the town over, which was nice because when I interacted with them they didn’t know of my reputation. I’m not really sure, but I’m guessing I had a pretty vanilla reputation. I spent a lot of time playing violin – going to lessons, preparing for auditions, and going to orchestra festivals a few times through the years. On the weekends, I went to $5 shows and pretended that I really did enjoy listening to the Blood Brothers when all I wanted to do was just dance to the brilliant jubilee of The Rocket Summer – who I did see perform twice. I think I scrapbooked the confetti he shot out of a cannon. Anyway, at that coffee shop, I was able to be a more amplified version of who I thought I was – girly, smart, and artsy. Very unique, considering that was the image most seventeen year old girls were trying to to cultivate, what with their “photography” they posted on their MySpace pages, complete with captions containing lyrics from Bright Eyes songs.

High school was a confusing time.

At the coffee shop, I settled on a favorite drink – a white chocolate raspberry latte. I had a boyfriend from the town over who would go there on his lunch break to buy one for me. This boyfriend was dubbed “Latte Boy” by one of the baristas. The evolution of Folgers with a 1/4 cup of Coffee mate to double-flavored lattes wasn’t that big of a stretch, but I thought it was.

Curiously, around the time I started working as a barista was when my coffee habit started scaling back. I think the novelty wore off. I used to be a guest to the coffee shop, but then I became a fixture. Now, if there’s coffee around me, I’ll probably have a cup. If I’m feeling especially groggy or stressed, I might have a second.

And now I’m at the point that I’m too lazy to make a pot myself. I’m headed into work at noon. I’ll have some then. For now, I’ll just drink tea. I know nothing about tea. I don’t understand passionate tea-drinkers. The culture surrounding coffee makes sense to me – it has heavy ties with creativity. In my experience, the right cup of coffee can fuel an incredible session of creation. But tea? It has these supposed herbal powers that can do magical things for your body. Having done virtually no research of this, I’ll say this is all the the placebo effect. If you think that cup of tea is going to regulate your digestive system, it will. If you think that cup of tea is going to calm your nerves, it will. I’m probably too cynical to drink tea, which is especially funny when I’m forced to admit that I bought a box of St John’s tea the first day I was without Bill. 

I had woken up without any real rest, and decided to go grocery shopping. In shorts and his old t-shirt, I stood in front of the tea display and tried to find the perfect beverage. I wanted to believe in something, and tea seemed as good as anything else. “Encourages positive mood” the box proclaimed. That seemed like a good thing to encourage, especially since I hadn’t even been encouraged enough to wash my face before going out in public.

The directions say you’re supposed to steep the tea for 10-15 minutes. You’re also supposed to drink 4-6 cups during the day. I’m supposed to find 40-90 minutes a day to steep tea? I fully understand the concept of multitasking, but that’s an obnoxious amount of time to devote to tea.  That’s time I could spend doing other things, like feeling sorry for myself. Wait, I mean…accomplishing things like reading and writing and submitting work, and beginning my senior seminar project.

I’m too busy and depressed to find the time to drink this tea. I’ll stick with coffee instead, that at least gives me fuel to stress about all the things I should be doing.

If I was there

I was living my life the way I want to right at this instant, I’d be on the patio of some cafe, drinking coal-black coffee and smoking a vanilla clove. However, since I’m living in a place that has very few cafes (and even fewer with patios) and vanilla cloves are no longer available for purchase in the United States, I’m in my bedroom, drinking coffee with milk and eating a hard-boiled egg.

I’m trying desperately not to throw myself a pity party, because in the grand scheme of things, I know that my life is pathetically easy compared to what it could be. With that disclaimer, I’ve given myself free reign to complain like a trust fund brat. I didn’t sleep well last night. I had too many blankets and I kept tossing and turning, too lazy to get up and remove the sherpa one against my skin. Prior to that, I was crying over videochat with my boyfriend because I had confrontation with my cousin/roommate over a petty point. I overreacted and consequently made it a bigger deal than it really needed to be. Without going into details, I’ll simply say I decided to act like a selfish, entitled child whose self-righteousness borders on Nazism.

Immediately before the tiff with my cousin/roommate, I was feeling sorry for myself because my boyfriend lives 900 miles from me. It was one of those nights where I just wanted to cuddle and be distracted from my own melodrama. Perhaps it’s debris from being single for the majority of my high school career, but I hate to hear girls’ rants about their boyfriends. I don’t care what she’s complaining about, if it’s not one of my close girlfriends, if I hear a girl say “Oh my god, my boyfriend…” my first instinct is to tell her to shut up, that there are bigger problems in the world. So when I get whiny about my own relationship, I annoy myself. That’s an interesting sensation to to experience, self-annoyance. In the last few years, I’ve adopted the philosophy that you’re responsible for your own happiness. If you take that just a step further, you can say you’re also responsible for your own misery. That being said, I’m great at being a hypocrite, because I complain constantly. It’s practically a hobby of mine.

Now, I’m going to ride my bike the mile to the campus where I’m enrolled in classes. I’ll sit through a biology lecture, then return home for lunch. Next, I’ll endure a two hour biology lab, then finish up my day with a meeting for the Wisconsin Review. There, I will establish my power as a fiction editor and tell the readers they ought to look for quality fiction to publish. At the end of the day, I’ll put on sweats and read a couple novels for my English classes.

Yeah. I live a hard and tumultuous life. My whines are completely justified.