Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tea--Comfort or Madness?

mad hatter tea party

Lately I've been thinking a lot about tea. Is this unusual? Um, yes. Not that I don't like tea, but I don't usually obsess over it unless I'm traveling--then I seriously drink tons of the stuff and ruminate on what tea I'm going to drink and how it will be possible to get it. I have demanded to change hotels because they didn't provide hot water for tea. It's my one travel luxury.

This makes me think about the symbolism of tea. I was watching Miss Marple on Mystery! a few weeks ago, and the host, Alan Cummings (who, by the way, is full of awesome), pointed out that there is a lot of drinking of tea in Agatha Christie's novels. I never would have noticed if he hadn't pointed it out, but he is absolutely right! Tea in Christie's novels serves as a comfort and a way for the characters to connect. I think that's how we usually envision the symbolism of tea.

But that's not always how tea is presented in novels--think of something like the Mad Hatter's tea party in Alice in Wonderland, or the scene in Mary Poppins where they have a tea party on the ceiling. It seems that tea can be not only a comfort, but also a slice of possibility. Anything can happen during a tea! There is a strange sense of adventure to tea that takes place literature--one never knows what might happen.

Perhaps that's why I love tea some much while I'm traveling--for the comfort, and the adventure.

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