Click. The hot water starts to boil and the kettle whines. Wisps of steam dance happily.
Like Pavlov’s dog, a conditioned response comes next. “Are you making a cuppa?”
Despite the upward inflection, this isn’t a question.
Every member of my family uses this interrogative as a directive.
It means, “I hear you’ve put the kettle on, and I expect you’ll make a cup of tea for me too.”
Breakfast is tea time.
Morning tea is tea time.
Just after lunch is tea time.
Afternoon tea is tea time.
The time between afternoon tea and dinner is (decaf) tea time.
My family is fueled by it.
“Shall I put the kettle on?” is a rhetorical question.
Celebrations call for a cuppa.
Tantrums and tears are soothed over tea.
In fact, we’re all pretty confident that tea solves everything.
Israel / Palestine. If only they’d sit and share a brew.
Another mass shooting. If only someone had shared a quiet bevvy with the perpetrator, then all this could have been avoided.
National methamphetamine crisis. You know what’s more fun – a bickie and a cuppa.
There is no pomp, nor circumstance associated with our tea consumption. There’s not time for it. It’s not for special occasions. It’s for every occasion.
My email looks like this:I bring friends home and with one foot in the door, they’ll be offered a cup of tea. Declining – even politely – is looked upon with unintentional disdain. It’s not that we intend to judge you, and your tea-refusing lifestyle, it’s just that it’s different to ours. And different things can be hard to accept.
In my house, you accept your cup of tea as it is presented to you. Complaining about its taste, temperature, or the timeliness of its arrival is not an option.
Didn’t want milk? Tough titties.
It’s a bit too black for your liking? That’s borderline racist.
Hoped you might have had a spoonful of sugar? Like it or lump it.
Is coffee an option? If you must…heathen.
You’d prefer green tea? GET OUT OF THE HOUSE.
This particular attitude is premised on our reasoning that “tea is always better when someone else makes it.”
That doesn’t mean it’s better because it has been made with love, it’s just that sometimes it’s nice not to have to get up off your fat bott to pop-kettle-on.
Is it an addiction? Maybe. But, there are worse habits to pick up.