Armageddon or tea?

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“Honestly, if you’re given the choice between Armageddon or tea, you don’t say ‘what kind of tea?”

Neal Gaiman

"Marianne-Maquis", painting by Oskar Kokoschka, 1942, of Winston Churchill and General Montgomery drinking tea in the Café de Paris

“I say let the world go to hell, but I should always have my tea.”

Fyodor Dostoevksy

Photo by Chien-Chi Chang

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”

C.S. Lewis

Sabriel drinking tea in her study, from "Sabriel" by Garth Nix

“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.”

Henry James

"Afternoon Tea", etching by James Whistler

“A cup of tea would restore my normality.”

Douglas Adams

Fur-lined Teacup, by Meret Oppenheim

All this writing about tea is making me thirsty. I’ve invited a few friends over to share a cup with me –

– so I must leave you now. But left to my own devices, there’s just one thing bothering me….I can’t help wondering: was Eleanor right?

“A woman is like a tea bag, you never know how strong she is until she gets into hot water.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

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9 comments on “Armageddon or tea?

  1. Stephen Greenberg says:

    on a completely unconnected tangent (written whilst drinking tea): While driving my son to Jewish kindergarten, he blurted out, “Papa, if I celebrate Christmas does that mean I’m a Christian?” Beat. “Not necessarilly Noah. Christmas isn’t really a religious holiday anymore -” “But who was he?” “Who, Jesus Christ?” “I saw a picture of him and he looked normal. He was hanging on a tree.” “You mean a cross-” “How did he die? ” “He was hanging on a cross -” “But how did he die?” “Well, some think he didn’t die, but you’re sort of asking the wrong person…but they put nails in his hand.” Noah made a face. “Yuck…but how did they get the nails through his hands? Did it hurt?” “With a hatchet or maybe the end of a sword…and yes, it probably hurt alot.” “Do you know any stories about him?” “Like I said you’re asking the wrong guy.” “Tell me -” “Okay, he was walking along a road and met this woman who was crying – ” “Why was she crying?” “Because her brother had died. His name was Lazarus. And Jesus, in this story anyway, made the man come back to life.” “Whoa…” And then we arrived at Agnon and got out of the car. “I thnk I might become a Christian.”

  2. What an outrageous story, Stephen. And what a cool thought process. And even cooler conversation. Tienes mucha suerte de tener un hijo así. BTW, have you heard that sociologists and historians recently came up with some compelling evidence that Jesus was actually……..Irish?

  3. Stephen Greenberg says:

    hadn’t heard that but I do love Yorkshire red tea and I think I saw Jesus once in Long Beach after a blissfully windy St. Pat’s day at a newly opened Irish bar populated by immigrants from Limerick and they all stood the test of having one up their sleeves as they taught me the true way to drink Guiness and live to tell a tale –

    • Mmmm….Yorkshire red tea. Damn. I’m drinking black tea with ginger right now, a fine combination for a blustery cold Oregon day. And you do realize you’re going to have to SHOW me the true way to drink Guinness one of these days…or nights. But the factual evidence for Jesus being Irish seems to boil down to four facts which characterize all Irish chaps –
      1. He was a good lad and lived at home with his Da and Ma.
      2. On the last night o’ his life, he went out drinkin’ wi’ the lads.
      3. He thought his Mother was a virgin.
      4. She thought he was God.

      • Stephen Greenberg says:

        will be happy to…but you may practice in the meanwhile, thus: watch the color simmer and after a time take a sip…talk a while and have a laugh, another look and a sip and listen to the story as it meanders and then another sip, softening the cheeks by now and then it’s your turn to tell a tale and only when you are finished do you look through the dark amber wave and take another sip and meanwhile the pint has already been filled to the brim while you were glancing across the room at the mirror shimmer and it’s not like the Russian hostess who keeps the vodka level with the rim (oh, those long, tilted Madrid nights with the Turkmenistans) because the pink vodka can become a ship at sea entering a storm and sometimes capsizing while the ale champions the waves and sends you through the tube –

  4. and while we’re on the subject of long tilted Madrid nights with the Turkmenistans….and the ships at sea cresting the foaming liquid troughs of ale before sliding down into pink funnels of vodka….

    well don’t forget los paseos por el barri Gotic de barcelona en la madrugada, a few hours before dawn, conducted in a polyglot of castellaño y catalan with the murmured mantra of Mol Ve helping you get through the last few bottles – the last several hundred years of tiny labyrinthine alleyways – and the last tapas – before finding the sanctity of your depto o hotel

    but no Russian hostesses, please

  5. Stephen Greenberg says:

    funny how accurate that enebriated sequence from Dumbo seems now –

  6. Stephen Greenberg says:

    there’s a jaundiced cast to the horizon tonight, a smudge of centipede blue blurring the edge of the darkness and I am remembering –

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