I mix this in a Pyrex bowl and listen to small links of sausage sizzle in a cast iron skillet while Virginia birds announce the spring. The morning sun seems as slow to start it’s day as I am with mine. The tiny bubbles on the surface of the green tea start to pop and pop quickly. I wonder about those bubbles and then all of creation.
39 Tasting Notes
My girlfriend is sympathetic, texting me throughout the day. By the end of my work day I’m a bit grumpy, even irritable. My back still hurt, the boots I had worn had started to dig into one of my heels, now dead tired, and the six shots of espresso I had taken throughout the day to try to keep myself propped up had just added a strange bend to my reality which seemed to make things a bit further away than they really were.
She’s trying to be supportive, but she does it with “I’m sorry your back hurts,”, “I’m sorry you’re tired,” and I know she’s trying to be sympathetic, but “I’m sorry” comes off as an apology to me and it’s a mild irritation, and in present mindset, it’s a major irritation. I have to keep myself from re-addressing this because it’s appearing as a bigger issue than it actually is. I’m driving home and she texts me and there it is again, “I’m sorry this” “I’m sorry that” and I want to text back “You talk like your apologizing that you exist with how much you say that!”
She’s trying to help, but it bugs me, and I try to disengage from any communication with her that isn’t necessary, which probably doesn’t help her out emotionally, but I know myself and with such a internal stress, I feel like it’s only a matter of time until I let it out on her, if I keep up- that is.
I’m planning on marrying her, so I disengage and she doesn’t seem to notice, or at least doesn’t complain. I sleep, and the morning- my back still hurts, my heel is now sore from the boot, but I’m conscious and feel well rested. She sends me a picture of herself while I’m in line at the BMV waiting to get new plates and wondering why I’m the only person in line at the BMV that doesn’t look like they just got done working as an extra as a Morlock in a low-budget, made-for-TV adaptation of H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine. I want to be good to her, and sometimes that’s by doing nothing.
At home, I drink a bowl full of Teavana’s overpriced, but good matcha. My girlfriend had given me a matcha whisk for Christmas. I think she didn’t really know what it was for or what it was used for, but it was on my Amazon wishlist and carried a low price tag. I made matcha for her the last time she was visiting and she seemed to like it. I used her whisk and thought about her.
I sip this same tea that my girlfriend gave me for Christmas. I re-steep and re-steep the tea. She’s in Haiti for the week.She’s doing missionary work. Years ago, I went to Haiti, I met her sister and father, then sort of Facebook stalked her, turned out we’re really compatible and I want to marry her. That’s the long story, shortened. Funny, why would I be shortening the story for tea drinkers? I should be shortening it for the coffee drinkers. Anyway-
She lives in Virginia, I live in Ohio, it’s a long distance relationship. One would expect that I wouldn’t mind her being in Haiti, where this whole crazy thing got started, but two problems-
1) I am used to being in contestant contact with her, and Haiti doesn’t have a lot of communication infrastructure. Some fellows might be put off by a female that texts or emails or calls at least once every two hours during waking hours. And I’m one of them. But not with her. Now I drink her tea, watch things on Netflix, and try not to transpose my own emotions with those of the fake people who do fake things in movies.
2) Haiti is hell. Haiti was Hell’s next door neighbor when I went. Then her earthquake ripped the country up. Imagine the worst bedroom you’ve ever been in… You know the kind that mom says “It looks like there was a hurricane in here,” then add a real hurricane. It’s a lot like that except with lots of human beings and their lives. The UN and the Red Cross and lots and lots of American money don’t solve the problem of evil people and educating people to stand on their own. This is what worries me. America has law and order because people are used to following law and order, and therefore generally do. Haitians are not used to following law and order, and now there is no law or no order, even if someone wanted to follow.
If she’s in Virginia and something bad happens, I can put the key in the ignition, drive there, and sort things out. Haiti’s problems that would come her way would be exponentially worse than what Virginia would bring her, and I can’t just drive over there and sort out her problems. I can’t be there to protect her. I want to go to Hell to make sure she doesn’t know she’s there.
I drink her tea, I watch Netflix, and I try my hardest not to think of her at all.
I steep and re-steep this as I watch No Country for Old Men, my favorite example of American culture’s answer to the Zen koan. I use GChat to talk to my girlfriend and try not to tell her I’ve packed a bag and I’ll be driving the few hundred miles between us, and probably loosing my job in the process.
Smooth, dark, re-steeps well.
My girlfriend, and the way things are going- future wife, gave this to me for Christmas. I made it for us a few times while she visited last week. She doesn’t know much of anything about loose leaf teas, but found, likely, the tea I’d enjoy the most from World Market. Maybe it’s one of those Connections that Karl Jung was talkin’ about.
I drank some tonight, and thought about her.
The local Teavana has Dragonwell back in stock and I, well, stocked up. It’s good to have this back in my cupboard. I’ve been drinking lots of it to make up for the lost time that I haven’t had it available.
In life, I’ve found someone new and I think that this is it this time. She drinks tea, but without the disguised snobbery about it that I do. Maybe she’ll bring some balance to me.
Once again I’m in Ohio, and once again alone. Tea makes being alone better. Tea also makes being together better.
This stuff is nice and grassy, but I’d recommend any Teavana shopper to spend the bit of extra money on Dragonwell.
Still best drank from a guywan, or decanted from… The worst part is the fourth steeping… The one that follows the third AKA Should Be Last Steeping. The fourth one is a ghost and only encourages a person to find fresh leaves and start the process all over again.
I tried to think of a drug analogy for this one, but, I guess I’m out of the drug loop. Insert your own, this stuff is fantastic.
Reading Lev Grossman’s “The Magicians” sitting on the linoleum floor of my parents’ kitchen at 1am drinking Dragonwell from one of their tea cups after decanting it from my guywan. The guywan is one of my surviving tea instruments. Most of them were left behind as the detritus that serves as material collateral damage in a sudden breakup.
I’d had enough of her behavior and enough of my own self-deceit that she’d live up to her promises that she’d get better. Be better. More reliable.
So a thousand miles behind me and just shy of all of my personal belongings shed during the last four months, I block her phone number and only communicate with her through e-mail. I pay her rent, partially as a sort of non-legally-mandated alimony, partially because my name is still on the lease, and I work at forgetting that those months even happened. E-mails from her have, in only days, started to feel like waking up from a strange, confusing dream only to find that one of the characters had left a note in the waking world.
It’s good to be home.
Firstly: note that the first steeping of this might as well be thrown away. The first rinse I’ve not been able to get anything other than the promise of a better steeping next. The second steeping, on the other hand is quite the opposite, with a surprisingly subtle flavor that I enjoy before a cheddar omelette in the morning. This has been my second loose leaf tea purchased while living in Tampa, the first being a stalwart sencha from a tea boutique on the north side near one of the larger campuses, who’s name escapes me.
I will try this same tea from a gaiwan and see how it fares.
Very smooth tea, but surprisingly not as bold as I’ve come to expect from most oolongs. I’ll be playing around with steeping temperatures and temperatures to get a bit more punch out of this tea. It’s really coming off as a slightly more grassy flavored version of Teavana’s Silver Needle… I’ll post any changes.
This morning I made the last of it and regrettably skipped the second steeping, which is far better than the first, which isn’t too shabby. It’s been a very busy last couple of days and this day will were to be a nice lazy pace by comparison. Because of my lazy pace, by the time I got to my tea, I had to rush to get to what I needed done. There is a certain enjoyment I find in gulping down tea at that almost-too-hot temperature. I wouldn’t trade the experience for savoring every mouthful, but there is a time to sit- and a time to run.
Mild grassy flavor, a good introduction to Kaleisia Tea Lounge. The staff was friendly and helpful, and the atmosphere feels very hip-tea. Visited with my girlfriend, and was my first loose leaf tea in Florida. I like it in the morning with my apartment window open and warm Tampa breeze bringing the smell of my basil plant inside.
In a week, I’m moving. Being the sort of procrastinator I sometime am, I’ve waited until this last week to seriously organize the movement of my large furniture to other owners, as I’ll not be taking any of it with me. I’ll be traveling light and fast. Initially, I had planned on renting a U-Haul truck and taking the entirety of my material detritus, then I found out those trucks with a trailer would cost me about a thousand dollars. That works out to be about a dollar a mile, plus gasoline or Diesel. My furniture is worth about a thousand dollars, so it’d be cheaper to re-buy it all.
My second (or third, or fourth) hand washer and dryer were things that couldn’t go, because they’re very large, very heavy, and, in all likelihood, redundant to washer and dryer that would be in the apartment unit I’m moving into. I posted them on Craigslist for fifty bucks. No e-mails about them after several days, even someone trying to talk me down from the discount price. So, at work, I announced- “Hey, does anyone want a washer and dryer?” and someone said, “Yes, how much?” and I said, “If you can take it tonight, we’ll move it,”
We moved the white metal boxes to her apartment and she reheated some stew and cooked up a big bunch of this Vital Tea in a pot in the stove. I resisted being a tea snob and criticizing her for using way too much leaf and adding cold water to the leaves prior to putting the pan on the stove and not timing anything. Hey, it’s not my tea here.
Turns out it was great. She claimed she felt a good tea should be abuse friendly- that it shouldn’t matter how you cook the tea, it’ll turn out awesome. I reminded myself- “It’s just tea,”
I re-steeped the tea (in the same manner) three more times and each time, as a good oolong should, tasted a bit different and usually better. The third was my favorite. I’d definitely recommend this stuff, even though I don’t know where you get it.
My favorite oolong, I drink while I clean. So many things accumulated here that will now be better served by being moved to the Dumpster. I’ll try not to do this again.
This morning I allowed myself to doze in bed for an extra half hour, citing the Real Good work out I had at the gym and the habañeros I had for lunch as my excuse. Once up, for breakfast a bit of Dragonwell and a can of chili that I think the only difference between it and Alpo is the label. Then I listened to a good bit of my favorite album- The Who’s Tommy. This should shape up to be a pretty decent day.
Suddenly, and surprisingly, finding myself single, again, I find in myself, first a feeling of relief, but secondly, the returning feeling of being alone. I spend more time at work and the gym to have people around me, and avoid coming back to my apartment because here- I am alone. The cleaning here has found itself incredibly de-prioritized. While sencha in the morning with my waffles or eggs, of course, has not been.
Okay, that relationship is over.
This morning’s sencha was well accompanied by waffles with peanut butter and agave nectar syrup.
Recently, I discovered my energy costs go up over 600% in the Ohio winter, partly exasperated by an apartment that bleeds heat like a clumsy archer leaks blood. So, I only really have two rooms in the place, and decided to stop heating one of them. I imagine my bill at the end of the month is going to be markedly less than last month, but because I decided to heat the bedroom, I don’t get much done.
Today, I didn’t even put clothes on, which is a special challenge when half of a person’s living space has almost no contrast between the winter just outside the front door. Interestingly, this seems to have had some influence on my metabolism, as I haven’t eaten today because I have no appetite.
I’m working through a pot of sencha hopin’ it’ll remind my blood that it needs sugar or protein or something.
No notes yet.
I’ve got a woman who seems solid. It’s still new. A couple times recently she asked me about my past with one girlfriend or another and I spent too much time answering her questions. She questioned if I was still attached to these other people… The people who were, generally, long gone. One is not. She tries to cling on, and I’m well practiced at ignoring her.
Now, I have something good, and something I really want to see go forward, and maybe be made permanent. The echos of my past though, are tainting this new and good thing. I decide it’s time for a purge. I delete a few photos of old girlfriends, and some other general physical house cleaning of such things.
Some time ago, I had torn out a dozen or so pages of my journal, most, or maybe all, had been of my most recent ex, but whenever I had done that, I hadn’t the ability to discard them, so put them in an envelope and saved that decision for another day. The envelope was tucked away in a drawer, and then forgotten. Recently, I re-discovered it and decided it was the best way, symbolically, to start to let my memories of some pains and some failures decay was to dispose of the contents of the envelope. To add to that, I removed a few more pages from my journal as well, about a few false starts with a couple of people… Really only a few pages of a couple hopes.
I had sent my mind on some matcha, as it is my choice of teas before anything that ought have ceremony or ritual to it, but then choose two things:
1) Sencha, as this would be a day like any other, except I’d be throwing away a few pieces of garbage.
2) There would be no ritual to this, because these pieces of paper had no significance. This morning would only include a trip to the Dumpster to throw a few pieces of paper and an envelope into it.
The only problem with decision #2 is I’d already soaked the pages in alcohol.
The flames melted a bowl in the snow, and pieces of blackened paper floated up into the air like the feathers of a crow.
I stood in my doorway and sipped on my tea. With a screwdriver I poked through the pages, spreading them out so they’d all burn. I saw words like, “hope” and “happy” which felt like it should be difficult to see, but I knew I was cremating these inscribed memories for all of the other words.
The sencha turned out perfect. My skin smells of smoke. And today- I’ll forget.
No notes yet.
It’s quarter after nine. Forty five minutes ago I should have been in bed, but I re-use the leaves I used for my breakfast in the morning, and eat some food whose cuisine could be described only has hauté-bachelor. Above average, but still garbage. I watch a few scenes of Sin City and try to not identify with Dwight too much. A guy you can count on to save the girl, but not someone you’d lend five bucks.
The winter creeps into the apartment. I’m faced with the decision between the luxury of a higher electric bill or the frugality of a single male with a below average income. If I found myself feeling entitled to a lament, it wouldn’t be spending the night cold, but spending it alone.
The last two months have been some of the least lonely of my life… But the night doesn’t know that.
As I was drinking from my favorite tea bowl, I became concerned about being someone who has a favorite bowl.