On the weekend, I was talking to Nicktor about making tea. We both make tea for our wives; real tea with leaves in a teapot. We both agreed that it tastes better. I then suggested that it doesn’t take a lot longer than using a teabag. You pour water on it and leave it for about four minutes, then it’s ready.
Later, it occurred to me that we’ve all been fooled. In the name of capitalism, we have been convinced to forego taste for expediency. Except it isn’t really expedient; not when it comes to making tea. It was simply someone’s idea about how to sell something unnecessary to people who didn’t need it. And I guess it worked a treat; which says more about the susceptibility of the buyer than the morals of the seller.
Brainwashing aside, if you really think about it, teabags are not as environmentally friendly as tea leaves. The leaves you can just pour onto the garden; teabags depend on too many factors. There’s the actual tea, the bag, the bit of string and the little tag.
But even more so than the bag versus the leaves is the fact that making a pot of tea is more enjoyable. There’s more care, it’s more an act of pleasure. These things the tea bag manufacturers have convinced us to give up. We need to make tea as fast as possible, with no care or thoughts of joy.
It’s a sad fact of life that we have to do things quicker because we feel they are a chore. Even when they’re not. Making tea is not a chore.
When we were in Beijing, we went to a tea ceremony and were treated to a wonderful experience where the woman making the tea showed us what really making tea was about. There was a lot of traditional stuff, but there was also a love of the tea. Of the actual liquid we were about to consume. It was almost religious. And it was definitely pleasurable.
And I feel that about lots of things. We have lost the joy of making, of doing, of going. People catch planes on short haul trips and moan and complain about how awful it all is when they could catch a ferry or a train or a bus and have a much more pleasant journey. But, no, people believe that they have to get there as soon as possible. The journey is no longer important.
(I realise that people take the plane because it’s invariably cheaper. The fact is, it’s only cheaper because everyone does it. The airlines know people will put up with it if the price is right. Supermarkets do the same thing. If consumers stopped doing it, the prices of the alternatives would reduce. But, of course, people don’t work that way, something that capitalism exploits beautifully.)
There’s also food.
The pleasure in making a meal from scratch is vetoed because “…it takes too long and I don’t have time. ” So goes the common refrain. And yet, the making can be almost as fulfilling as the eating. Most people these days just want to get to the eating and, in order to achieve this, eat all manner of artificiality.
Some people don’t care what they put inside their bodies. Which is very weird. People wear masks in order to keep a virus out but are more than happy to devour food colouring, stabilisers, carcinogens, etc, because they can make a meal in five minutes rather than half an hour.
I love food. The taste, the smell, the creation; it’s one of lifes greatest pleasures and I don’t understand people who waste their senses.
I also don’t understand people who are intent on running towards death rather than strolling through the amusement arcade that could be their life. If only they’d stop and enjoy it with a real cup of tea.