Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Battle of the Tea Cups

I don't consider myself an overly organized or particularly particular person, set in my ways, immovable, resistant to change--that is until my mother came over to take care of me during my recovery from my tonsillectomy at the end of June. I have lived by myself in this house for eight years and during that time I have added the company of the African Cichlids and my dog, Marlowe. I have not needed to answer to anyone about the arrangement of my kitchen, or dining room, or living room, or laundry room, or bathroom.

What made me think that I might-- again, I say, might--have an issue with inflexibility is in the separation of the cups and mugs in my kitchen cupboards. As a tea drinker and a coffee drinker, I don't like tasting coffee in my tea. So, I have devised a full proof plan to never let that happen. Mugs or cups with Souvenir place names on them are for coffee, the rest are for tea. Except for the one that my nephew gave me from a Boy Scout Camping trip. It is a really good tea mug, just the right size that fits perfectly to warm your hands on a cold morning. And the tea cup I picked up while visiting the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center; it's a cool shape, too. For all the others, it is a full proof plan.

Or so it seemed to me. Aye, there's the rub.

I neglected to let my mother in on my scheme. How often is that we think our loved ones should automatically know what we are thinking? Mom should have known that I separate my mugs-- even though I didn't tell her. She should have known to use the Film Noir mug for coffee and the red flowery one for tea. She just should have known.

In my post-recovery, pain killer, throat so raw I couldn't talk stage, I forgot to tell her about my system. In preparing for her visit, I thought I had covered everything. I guess I was more concerned about where she was going to sleep and how Marlowe was going to react to her taking care of him. Again, I took my coffee and tea mug system for granted. Everyone knows that you don't drink tea out of a coffee cup--or is that just me.

Life is full of assumptions. And they are usually just made up rules in your head. They are unspoken and yet, in full folly, assert that all those in your sphere and circle of influence know those made up rules. Assumptions left unspoken create a life of their own, a world spinning on its counterintuitive axis.

How simpler life would be if these unspoken assumptions were shown the light of day. How simpler would a morning's cup of tea be if the maker knew the cup to use.

Does everything have to be so hard? Yes, I have learned a valuable lesson. To speak up. To admit to myself that I don't always have an easy-going side. That I have preferences and an order to my life.

I have learned to start using my out loud words.

© pranaknits


  1. This is a particularly nice post! How true. We do make up rules in our heads that exist nowhere else and figure everyone else lives the same way.

    For example, I drink tea and coffee out of the same mug... Mostly due to being too lazy to wash two too many mugs.

  2. Lately I have been thinking of paring down the clutter in my cupboards-- I have way too many mugs and tea cups. I could just have one for coffee and one for tea and be done with it. But which one would I choose for which? Maybe I could rotate them out.... and thereby avoid making any decision at all...