Tea – Humor and Opening the Senses – NaBloPoMo Day 16

by Sheila Finkelstein on August 3, 2009

Yesterday, in a Facebook post, my friend Lisa discussed tea she was enjoying, purchased at $60 a pound in Chinatown in LA. It reminded me of a tea experience of mine. I had been somewhat taken aback at the end of the experience and the memory surfaced during another writing class with Julie Jordan Scott. In that session, a few days after my “outing,” we were to write on a “sensory experience.”

The spontaneous writing that emerged brought appreciation and humor to the whole experience for me and I still smile when I think about it and what I wrote. I promised Lisa I would post the story here. Thank you, Lisa, for the memories and Julie for the prompt that opened it up.

Tea – Taste and Smell at Twenty-seven-fifty

Twenty-seven fifty – yes, that’s Twenty-seven dollars and fifty cents
On three little bags of tea…. Can you believe? 10 ounces total –
Twenty-seven fifty!!!

I’ll blame it on my friend. We tasted two delicious teas, up front,
Almost in the mall pathway, two inviting urns, cups – little plastic ones
in a dispenser beside them –

Rooibos Chai with something else was on the left
Didn’t get the name of the one on the right.

Had two cups of each and went to discard the empties.
Friend said, “… must have to go back to counter
to toss them out. Don’t see anything here.”

Same friend had commented when we passed, down the interior mall path. “Imagine, a shop just for tea. This one has fine tea.” So we stepped back, walked over and sampled.

Would have left and found place for cups/trash, only friend said “to counter.”
So we wandered back.

Nice lady salesperson, enthusiastic, knowledgeable and sharing.
Got enrolled. She opened tins. Showed us mixes. Gave us wafts of aromas
as she tilted the 12 inch tins – Were they 18 …?

The blueberry/peach on the counter in the back, served cold, was delicious too.

Now we’re deep in conversation.
Aromas are great, textures appealing and the names sure do call.

Eighth of a pound and 2 ounces. Getting somewhat confusing. Hearing four, five and six dollars plus for some portion of a pound wasn’t really registering. Brain must have been
thinking/assuming that she was talking about quarter and half pounds.

So we – she, that is – started mixing, to replicate the samples.

4 ounces – 2 ounces of each makes on bag – Ten dollars and seventy cents, already mixed
custom for me – too late to change mind. Besides didn’t even realize what it was costing, so caught up was I!

In the back of my mind as all of this is happening was,
“I’m in this course… This week is about sensory awareness…. Senses not usually attended to. So……. Taste and smell… my weakest. I can chalk some of this expense up to course work. Right? Ok, I’ll do it.”

Mind chatter. Can justify so readily. But twenty-seven fifty?? Couldn’t believe it.
And it’s OK.
There was no sales tax, so must be good for me!

Now I sit with three copper-colored, front and back, brown sides and bottoms, little foil bags. All [….] the store name

There is Mate Vana – Rooibos Chai – the first I tasted. So smooth, light and yet rich.The middle bag is Blueberry Bliss – Rooibos Peach that was the slippery, smooth, lightly refreshing, cold one on the counter.

That would have been enough – Totaling twenty-one dollars and I still wasn’t really aware of what this all was costing.

“ChocoNut Green Tea” suddenly caught my eye in the beautifully done booklet/catalog :
“The simple pairing of Chinese green tea with delectable chocolate bits and scrumptious almonds, pistachio nuts and macadamia nut pieces” Who could pass this up? Especially and, of course, after she, the server, said it was new and delicious! All hot button tastes for me!

I finally asked the total and stopped. Still hadn’t really registered – Twenty-seven fifty!!

Tried the choconut last night. It was somewhat of a disappointment and I’ll work more tomorrow on breathing it in. Might even put some of the tea leaves on my tongue.

And, I know, I’ll wind up doing visual here also…. Photographing, perhaps writing more.

This twenty-seven fifty already has given me some fun in the writing. There’s also been irony in looking at the circumstances, for you see, none of it was necessary beyond the tasting.

There was, in fact, a round opening into a trash receptacle, right between the two urns way up front, far from that counter!

Must have been my auditory sense kicking in the strongest, as I missed it, listening to my friend who said “We’ll have to take the cups to the counter to toss.”

Three 0 five AM. Twenty-seven dollars and fifty cents worth of fun and I still have lots to taste and smell!
©3-18-08 Sheila Finkelstein

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