Thursday, September 22, 2005

Tea Wrecks

Hi.

Have you seen a box of green tea?

No?

How about seven boxes of green tea?

No?

Oh, well. Thanks.

Would someone please come to my house and find lost tea? I drink green tea, because green tea strengthens teeth and I enjoy chewing . I drink caffeinated green tea so I can feed Daughter breakfast without weeping. I drink a lot of green tea, so I buy a lot of green tea. Until about three weeks ago, I could also say “I buy a lot of green tea, so I drink a lot of green tea”, but those halcyon days are no more.

One morning, I staggered to the stove, fired up the pot and blindly put my hand where my box of tea always lives, only to feel my hand slap down on an empty counter. I stared at my un-tea holding hand for easily ten seconds, trying to comprehend what this might mean; my morning brain reacts mulishly to change. Finally, a thought bubbled up from the brain cell which keeps me upright until I have tea.

The cell said “Go to the cabinet”.

I obediently walked to the cabinet and opened it. There were eleven cans of white beans, but no tea. Starting to wail, I thrashed my way through four bottles of soy sauce, a tin of anchovies and, oddly, some athletic socks, and finally found an incredibly elderly tea bag in the back of the cabinet. I stared at it suspiciously. It clearly wasn’t green tea or white tea, and I had no recollection of buying black tea in the last four years, but my brain was starting to sag under the weight of its own misery so I couldn’t afford to be picky. It was a…singular cup of tea. It is entirely possible this tea bag came over with one of the Chinese workers who toiled in the Gold Rush. It is equally possible this was a potpourri of desiccated moth corpses wrapped in lens tissue. Whatever it was, it had enough caffeine that I could form the first coherent thought for the day: “Must…buy…tea.”

So, I bought tea that day. As I popped it into the grocery bag, I smiled fondly at it and said softly “Soon I shall drink you, my pet”. Upon reflection, this might be why the cashier at the grocery store always seems to go off shift just as I get in line.

I brought the tea home, placed it in the tea spot, and moved on with my life. The next morning, I staggered out, fired up pot, reached over to grab the box of tea bags and found…nothing. I even brought my empty hand close to my face and inspected it, as my single morning brain cell posited that the tea bags had gotten hidden between my fingers.

Thrashing through the cabinet not only did not produce the new box of tea, it did not produce an antediluvian tea bag from the Tang Dynasty to hold me. As if mocking me, it produced a full box of tea bags with a picture of a bear in nightwear on the box; apparently, this tea encourages sleep.

It is possible I threw it across the room.

I decided that, somehow, the box had been left at the grocery store, which is not only exasperating but impossible to prove eighteen hours later. It is especially hard to prove when you are still in your pajamas and you are raking your fingers through your hair while keening “Please, just let me grab a tea bag to suck on until I can get to a kettle!”. I went back to the store, grabbed two tea boxes with a death grasp, and scuttled home.

I made tea, and life got better.

About a week later, I staggered out, fired up pot, reached over to grab the box of tea bags and found…nothing. This time, however, I was not rattled; I went to the cabinet, where I had placed box #2 and found…the bear in the nightgown.

Both boxes were gone. I called Consort, who had left early that day.

“Hi!” he said, clearly delighted to hear my voice. “I was just thinking how much I miss having breakfast with my girls!”

“Yeah,” I said dully. “Did you touch my tea?”

“Your tea?”

“My tea, my tea…bags, where…tea…go?” It was getting harder to hold back the sobs.

“I don’t drink tea. I drink coffee. I don’t touch your tea bags. I don’t know where they are.” He listened to me hyperventilate for a minute and said with concern “Do you need me to call someone to come help you?”

“YES!” I said in a strangulated cry. “People…who…make…tea!”

I took Daughter to the grocery store with me and again bought two boxes of tea. Daughter chose this moment to whine at the first Halloween candy display of the season. I hugged my boxes of tea closely and bared my teeth at her. Being a wise child, she avoided eye contact with me until we got home.

I fired up the pot, and made a cup of tea. I stared at the tea bags bleakly and said softly
”I’d ask you to stay, but I think we all know that’s impossible”.

Sure enough, within five days, both boxes were gone. A week later, the box which had replaced them was also gone.

I’ve moved through denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and have now reached acceptance. Something beyond the power of human imagining likes green tea and lives in my kitchen.

Which is why I am now hiding my tea bags in the glove compartment.

Tell no one.

9 Comments:

Anonymous Cathy said...

Quinn, it is your house stealing the tea. How do i know this? you might ask. I, too, have an old house and it has been stealing my stuff for 23 years. One day when you have forgotten all about the great tea theft of 2005 your old house will begin to return them, making you think you are crazy all over again. I refer to this phenomenon as, "Hey, my house steals my stuff."

8:54 PM  
Blogger Mel said...

Well, hot tea makes my nose run, so you know it wasn't me stealing it. Look under your bed. (Hey, I often find missing stuff under there. Or between the couch cushions.)

10:42 PM  
Anonymous becksterh said...

I once "lost" a 5lb bag of potatoes, a jar of spaghetti sauce, 3 onions, and 3 cartons of chicken broth. I KNEW that I had loaded them in the car from the cart. I KNEW that I had picked up the bag from the trunk of the car. I didn't remember putting them away, but that isn't exactly a memorable thing.
I searched, I ranted, I almost asked the girl who feeds our cats when we are out of town if she had stopped in for a snack.
This was in the dead of winter in NH. Come spring when the 4 feet of snow in my front yard melted, there were my groceries under a snow drift. Bag must have broken on the way in.

4:06 AM  
Anonymous Barbara said...

One of the funniest yet - I love the moths in lense tissue comment! Sorry about your tea, not sure what may be going on there but I'm a little frightened for you. How about disguising your green tea in a sleepy bear tea box and see what happens?

7:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The answer is simple. Your tea has gone to The Place of One Socks. I'm convinced that this land exists.. it's the place that your dryer has been sending one sock to for years now. I have many items, not just socks that I am sure live there.

While, I know where your tea has gone, I"m afraid I don't have directions to The Place of One Socks. I'm not sure it's on a map either.

7:51 AM  
Blogger torontopearl said...

Maybe you need to consult with someone who "reads" tea leaves in order to learn where the green tea has gone...

9:37 AM  
Anonymous Steve said...

Quinn, Your tea is at my house. In the middle of the night, your boxes of tea come here and have taken up residence in the cabinet with MY boxes of tea, and I know what they are doing: They are BREEDING. It is the only explanation for all the extra boxes of tea I know I haven't bought. I am afraid to open that cabinet anymore, as I know I will be showered by a cascade of tea boxes of all sizes and varieties.
I'm the Fibber McGee of tea!
Please help! Lock up your tea at night!

2:33 PM  
Anonymous Melissa said...

Quinn, maybe you tripled your tea consumption without noticing, so you're actually drinking it all up (like Goldilocks), but failing to register this fact because the tea hasn't kicked in when you use the last tea bag. Either that, or it's fallen through the same hole in the space-time continuum where keys like to hide.

2:54 PM  
Anonymous Kate said...

The mysterious appearing/disappearing of household items is a serious national problem and I think you are to be applauded for finally bring this mystery out of the closet...or cabinet...wherever. Perhaps money can be allocated so that NASA can study this scientific phenomenon.

Seriously, this happens all the time at my house. The disappearing items, if I find them at all, often are eventually located in the large kitchen trashcan. I'm not sure if they are trying to escape or if I, a bit of an absentminded professor, am actually pitching them in there. I find the suddenly appearing items to be more disconcerting. There is an olive family in my kitchen cabinet. There was one jar at first. I'm sure of it. When I opened the cabinet to get that jar out, there were now two jars of large green olives. I love olives, but this was a little scary. Two days ago, opening the cabinet very carefully, I noted three jars of olives and slammed the cabinet door shut. From past experience, I have learned how to stop this. So far (knock on wood), I haven't had any items appear/disappear from the refrigerator (the cold may discourage both breeding and escape). I shall have to place the olives in the frig. Please purchase more tea, but place in it your refrigerator. I know it sounds insane, but I bet it works.

2:48 PM  

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