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Therapist. Good morning! I’m glad to see everyone here today taking the first step in dealing with your problem.
Betty. Is this the Tea group?
Jeff. I don’t have a problem.
Therapist. The first step in making positive changes in our lives is recognizing the issues and the symptoms which lead to difficulties.
Ray. My probation officer sent me here.
Betty. My husband says I have a tea problem. I’ve been thinking about it, but really he wants to throw out my cakes which is a bigger issue.
Therapist. What cakes are these? Like chocolate cake?
Betty. No. My puerh cakes.
Therapist. Your pu errr cakes…I don’t think I’ve ever tasted a pu errr cake before.
Betty. Of course not.
Therapist. Well, this group is for tea addiction. The Sugar group meets at eleven.
Ray. I don’t think she knows what a puerh cake is.
Tom. I’m guessing not.
Ray. Lady, a puerh cake is a type of tea.
Betty. Yes, they have certain recipes.
Therapist. So you do bake them?
Ray. No, she orders them. Online.
Therapist. So a…pu errr cake has a recipe?
Tom. It’s spelled puer-h.
Ray. No, it isn’t. It’s puer.
Jennifer. I think it’s pu’er actually.
Tom. Pu-er cha, Are we going to argue the pinyin? Because if we are really gonna I have Pleco on my phone.
Jennifer. Well, I have Babelcarp on my Twitter feed.
Therapist. You are supposed to turn off your phone for group. Now, I’m guessing that pu errr is really a type of tea you are talking about?
Betty. Yes it is. My spouse thinks I have too much.
Therapist. So what does the recipe you are talking about have to do with it?
Fred. An example would be a Xiaguan 8653. Starts with an X.
Therapist. Sha--Zee ahh…what?
Fred. Xiaguan 8653.
Therapist. I see you must know a lot about this pu errr tea.
Ray. Damn right!
Fred. Some guy told me on TeaChat back in the day that 05 Xiaguan 8653 sucks. Turned out his one is the last batch of the year...a thin, paper non ironcake.
Tom. Yup, no accounting for taste.
Fred. He paid 1/3 the price I paid, but the satisfaction is probably 1/10 or less.
Therapist. Okay, let’s get back to the topic. We are discussing tea addiction. Does anyone else want to share what kind of tea is your particular addiction?
Fred. There’s several different 2005 productions of that 8653, some with significant differences in quality and a large price variation.
Betty. I have a little oolong in the cupboard someplace.
Jennifer. I used to drink matcha but now I think it tastes like dirt.
Fred. This is the list of 8653 made in ‘05. Jan/Feb 2005. Thick paper Traditional Fonts 8653 iron.
Tom. Got that one.
Fred. 2005 Thick paper Traditional Fonts 8653 non-iron.
Tom. Drank mine.
Therapist. Anyone else?
Fred. March 2005, Thick paper Simplified Fonts 8653 iron.
Tom. Buddy wanted to trade me for a bit of that. I said forget it.
Therapist. I mean, what other kinds of tea do you collect?
Betty. Never swap tea, heaven only knows where it’s been.
Fred. Then we have 2005 Thick paper Simplified Fonts 8653 non iron.
Betty. People and their dog hair, bedbugs, mold, cigarette smoking, pubic hair--
Therapist. Okay that's fine. What I want to focus on now is the harm caused by tea addiction. Ray, can you share your recent issue with housing?
Ray. Yeah, some cop arrested me after my neighbors complained about the stink from my apartment. I told ‘em it’s shou puerh and nothing to worry about. Landlord wanted in, I said ****off.
Fred. In July ‘05 we had Thin paper Simplified Fonts 8653 iron cakes.
Ray. So the landlord calls the fire inspector. Says I am a fire hazard, too much tea. Told him I was getting a pumidor, but Restore can’t deliver it for two weeks.
Tom. Wine cooler, or old fridge?
Ray. Old fridge. Kinda dorm-ish, but bigger. My goal was to clear off the sofa.
Jennifer. I just keep mine in the kitchen.
Betty. Oh, god, seriously?
Ray. Next thing you know, I get an eviction notice slapped on my door.
Therapist. Thank you, Ray. Now here we have an example of the harm caused by what we call hoarding, a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Fred. Also in July 2005, we got Thin paper Simplified Fonts 8653.
Tom. Yeah I don’t think that one compares with the iron cake, but it’s arguable.
Ray. Hey I want you to know that landlord booted me because he could rent market rate to his cousin. I know that for a fact. Had nothing to do with my tea.
Therapist. I think your probation includes no tea shopping.
Jennifer. Geez, where are you living now?
Ray. In my storage garage. I got the rest of my collection in there.
Betty. Maybe you just need to keep your tea in the garage instead of at home.
Ray. Yeah, but what about the winter?
Therapist. So Ray is currently homeless and living with his tea. This is an extreme example, but hoarding can lead to homelessness and spousal problems.
Betty. Oh, that’s so true. My spouse is a huge problem.
Jennifer. I know, right?
Fred. FT also commissioned the "logo cakes" FT8653-5 iron and FT8653-5. FT means for the Taiwan market.
Tom. Taiwan storage sucks, I’m sorry.
Betty. I just keep mine in crocks like Cwyn does.
Tom. Cwyn doesn’t know shit.
Therapist. Language, please.
Fred. The difficulties with storage involve aerobic and anaerobic processes of fermentation. If you close up the tea you only get anaerobic. Need circulation.
Ray. See that’s why I got the fridge. Now I need to get it delivered to the storage garage.
Tom. A fridge is just as bad, all that plastic and rubber sealing.
Betty. But my tea smells real good.
Ray. You gotta own your home, otherwise the government’s gonna tell you what to do.
Fred. But the FT logo cakes are typically milder than the usual iron pressings for the Chinese market or the minority market.
Therapist. Fred, I need to stop you right here. We will not tolerate slurs against minorities at the mental health center.
Fred. I mean the Chinese minorities like the tribes in Mongolia or Tibet.
Therapist. I’m talking about people of color. And I need you to stop that right now. Does anyone else see a problem here?
Jennifer. I do. Can anyone tell me if the mail’s delivering, I got tea club stuck in customs.
Betty. Oh, I hate that.
Ray. Lady, do you know anything at all whatsoever about puerh tea? Because if not, I’m leaving.
Fred. Minorities is the correct term in China. But like I was saying, the Taiwan taste is somewhat milder than the Chinese market, hence the special pressings of the 8653-5 done back in 2005. So the 5 tells you what year and you can recognize the FT that way.
Tom. For most people FT is just a phase. Tuition tea.
Fred. Depends, sometimes the price structure is affected, but the good news is nobody fakes these.
Tom. True that.
Therapist. What steps can you take to begin to reduce tea hoarding and addiction?
Jennifer. Oh god.
Jennifer. Just got a tweet. White2Tea is having a Mystery Sale.
Therapist. One step you can take is to try and focus on the triggers that spur your need to collect. These triggers can include moments of stress, such as a bad day at work, or maybe a lack of sleep the night before. These are accompanied by a rise in blood pressure which can, for example, increase the need for dopamine response in the brain.
Let me share with you a brochure I have on triggers, I have a whole box right here if you need more.
Wait. Where did everyone go?