Time for tea? 10AM and 3PM of course.

October 2, 2008

When I was chugging along famously in my previous career as a writer for hire at businesses all over America, I steadfastly kept a tea schedule. At 10AM (unless there were meetings) and at 3PM I’d stroll to the hot-water dispenser or to the cafeteria to steep my tea and assess my day.

Sometimes I’d be able to entice others to join me, as tea is traditionally a social event. But on many occasions the full-time staff would either be coffee addicts or too afraid of ‘the man’ to abandon their desk for seven minutes.

My contention to them was that smokers have an eight-minute break about once an hour all day long. The company pays their healthcare costs and also pays them for an hour’s worth or work and gets only 52 minutes in return.

Over the course of a 2000 hour year, that comes out to 1733 hours worked – a loss of 267 hours or more than 6.5 WEEKS! That means a smoking worker is being compensated at a rate more than 13% higher than every other employee. And people make a fuss over a 3-4% raise. They should start smoking.

But I digress.

My twice a day tea break afforded me the opportunity to clear my head and give quality thought to some of my assignments. It allowed me to stretch my legs and rest my eyes (something ergonomic experts say should be done as often as every 20 minutes). And it served to create a tea addict of a mild-mannered writer.

That’s right, an addict. Forget the gentle schedule of 10 and 3. Now I boil water continuously throughout the day. I stop at Dunkin’ Donuts regularly for a large tea, two tea-bags, milk and sugar. I frequent any local cafĂ© I can find to ‘test’ their tea selection. And my cabinet at my studio is jammed with this evil elixir.

Do you really want to know why I bought a scooter? (Notice that the tea has me jumping around from subject to subject with no rhyme or reason.) I bought a scooter because the shop in Providence that sells scooters ALSO sells tea.

Why did I agree to let my girlfriend move in? That’s right, she had a teapot and a handful of large mugs so I wouldn’t even have a gap between cups of tea while pounding away at the keyboard.

What are the most purchased items on my Peapod shopping list? EXACTLY! Milk and sugar. As I mentioned, I’ve already got a cabinet jammed with tea.

Is there a solution to this madness? Am I destined to go all Holmes-Heroin, but with tea?

That’s really up to the editors. The more they put me to work, the less time I’ll have to dilly dally and boil water. It means I’ll spend less time chugging the evil brew and more time chasing down leads. In fact, my current pile of freelance assignments is keeping me from steeping a pot of my favorite concoction.

Luckily I already made a pot this morning, and a steaming cup of tea rests at my elbow as I pen this entry.

Look at the time, anyone want to join me for tea?

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