Hooked

Soon To Be Wife is an addict. She can’t function without it, and if ever she forgets to get a supply in from her dealer, she gets crotchety and shaky. Like all good addicts, she says she doesn’t depend on it, but all around her know that any such suggestion is just a sham. And the worst thing about it is that I think she’s now starting to take me down with her.

Thankfully, there are worse drugs in the world than coffee.

I’ve always been a tea man, myself. That is to say, a man who likes tea, rather than a bloke who pushes a trolley around the office offering up steaming cups of Tetley’s while chainsmoking Woodbines. Give me a cup of PG Tips any day – always in a mug rather than your best china, and preferably so lip-scaldingly hot that you can’t taste anything for three days after you’ve drunk it. And brewed strong enough that even your average builder would look upon it in horror and apologetically ask for a bit more milk.

The problem is, of course, that most Americans wouldn’t know good tea if somebody came and poured a cupful of it in their laps. Most offices come equipped with Lipton teabags, although with no kettle to boil water. In any case, describing the liquid that comes from Lipton bags as ‘tea’ is somewhat akin to comparing cans of Shandy Bass with a frothy pint of London Pride. ‘Weak’ doesn’t cover it. ‘Tasting like urine’ gets you closer, admittedly.

In a diner, it’s not unusual to get a cup of essentially lukewarm water, with a (Lipton) teabag on the side. If ever I am to have a Travis Bickle moment, it’ll be caused by a waitress nonchalantly walking over to me and plonking lukewarm water and Lipton infront of me.

In the apartment, I’ve got PG Tips in abundance. But in the face of such war crimes against tea everywhere else, I’ve taken to drinking much more coffee. So much so that I think I might be drinking more coffee than I ever used to drink tea (and I drank a lot of tea). Maybe it’s just the fact that it’s available on every street corner everywhere in the city? Or maybe it just smells better here than anywhere else (even though I’m damn sure it doesn’t taste any better)? But whatever it is, I fear I may be turning into a junkie.

Each day I walk into the office kitchen, and rather than grabbing two teabags and hoping for the best, I turn to the trusty Breakfast Blend of coffee. All the time looking over my shoulder to make sure that no-one can see me betraying my British roots. It’s not that I even enjoy the flavour, but somehow I just can’t help myself.

Next thing I know, I’ll be snaffling money from Soon To Be Wife’s purse to buy espresso, all the while trying to pretend that coffee addiction is something that happens to someone else.

It might be too late for me, but let this be a salutory warning to you all. Just say no.

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