Monday, April 13, 2009

Coffee, tea, or me

I never used to drink tea until fairly recently. Growing up -- particularly growing up in Seattle -- I always wanted to be a tea-drinker since everyone else (the adults, at least) drank coffee. I thought it would make me special, exotic, sophisticated, something. Of course, this was way before the birth of Starbucks, etc., so none of my friends drank coffee either. Or, if you did, you were weird, or a poseur -- basically, the character you were supposed to be rooting for in a John Hughes movie.

So I tried tea and couldn't stand it. Either tea has improved or I was trying crappy tea for all those years, but it always tasted like barely flavored hot water to me. Though I'm pretty sure I never tried putting anything in it. The atmosphere around me was that to put anything in your coffee was a sissy thing to do -- my mother was such a girl because she put in two sugars and cream -- so my young mind associated that with tea as well. And I never wanted to be a girl. At least, in the obviously, sissy-girly way. A real girl liked pink but no frills and could not only cook and clean and sew but change a carburator, hunt, fish (baiting your own hook and cleaning the damn things too), throw a baseball (NOT like a girl) and a punch. Et cetera. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say my stepfather had issues.

Anyhow, I also wanted to drink coffee (in a covert kind of way) because I wanted to be Molly Ringwald in Pretty in Pink. She not only drank coffee (and probably tea) but she had Andrew McCarthy and James Spader after her. And -- although I didn't appreciate this much until I was a lot older -- Jon Cryder. I thought that I would take a sip and magically! find that I loved it. All the cool kids would notice and I'd get invited to all the cool parties and my closet would have cool clothes and my breasts would be a cool size. I also had this idea not only about coffee and tea, but beer as well. That's a lot to lay at the feet of a beverage.

Do beverages have feet? I know wine is supposed to have legs...

Back to the story. Like everyone around me (mostly my parents) said, you have to develop a taste for these things, and eventually I did. Beer was first. Sophomore year in college I came to like the stuff, although for a few years it was only the stuff out of a keg -- which was probably the cheapeast-ass beer around. I still tend to prefer PBR over a microbrew. Coffee came next. I had the first cup I actually liked in my senior year of college during an all-nighter for a 400-level macroeconomics course. I also had hallucinatory-like dreams around that time of being trapped in an X-Y bar graph depicting gross national product, but I'm sure those aren't related. Tea came last, within the past year or so.

I officially developed a taste for it at a real British tea shop here in CilleyLand, where I also learned that putting milk in tea can be tasty. Ironically, I had moved out of Seattle before I learned to like coffee, and well, this isn't ironic at all since I live in CilleyLand which is the home of not only Tazo tea but Stash as well. Hmm, another point there for a possible Cilley brain tumor. Not really any irony with the beer thing; I was at college.

I sit here now sipping Raspberry Red Zinger, with two splendas. I would've felt that this particular tea called for honey but (a) we're almost out and (b) I started today with my resolution to keep a food diary and honey has calories. I think it only needed one, however. It's kind of sweet.

As a side note, I still will not drink tea or coffee first thing in the morning (I may or may not drink beer, it hasn't really come up as an issue yet). I do not like hot beverages first thing. Doesn't even matter when that morning is. It could be 5 PM when I get up and still, I want a diet coke. I have no idea why. You'd think the real girl thing to do would be to scald something first thing in the morning. But I also will not drink iced tea or iced coffee. Ever. I may still have a thing for James Spader but I don't care if Molly drinks it or not. That's just gross.

-- the Cilley tea drinking girl (who will be having a diet coke after the tea, FYI)

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