; Cwyn's Death By Tea: Extreme Prejudice ;

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Extreme Prejudice

This week I've been graced by the presence of a former tenant of mine that I haven't seen in awhile. I've written about him a little, a retired 65 year old country singer who is occasionally mentally ill and most of the time alcoholic. Now as a tea head, I get all too immersed in the endlessly fascinating life of tea cakes and tea ware hoarding, and forget what the rest of world really is. The tea-totalling universe is alcoholic, and I've forgotten how boring booze really is.

Haven't seen much of my friend Mr. Grumps over the past year. He's been doing god only knows what and I mostly don't want to hear it. Lately he's up to his ears in traffic tickets and (oops) a disorderly conduct charge (again) for walking barefoot into a restaurant thinking he'd entertain the patrons with a guitar and singing. He thought wrong and they called the cops. He can't afford to fix his vehicle brake lights...well he could do, but that would involve not buying alcohol, and the cops are fed up as usual. I get advance notice when Grumps will be arriving at my house because his court papers start showing up in the mails, he often uses my address when he gets arrested. In his view, having a clinical PhD friend's address is ideal for serving warrants.

So I agree to my (mostly) regret that he can park in the yard until his traffic court date next week, and then the following week's preliminary hearing on the "Disorderly Conduct for Playing a Guitar Barefoot in a Restaurant" beef. Let's take a look at what alcohol does to your recreational vehicle.

Case in point.

"I'm an entertainer and this is a rolling side show," Old Grumps says.

"More like a rolling ghetto," I quip back.

Luckily he is drunk enough to think that's funny. I'm not always so lucky.

All alcoholics, without exception, think they are entertainers. Sixty-five years of it just means accumulating more bad jokes.

"You know why all the girls broke up with me?" Grumps waits for me to say  no. "Because I'm one less mouth to feed. They didn't need to buy toilet paper."

Not Wanted in 7 states and 5 counties.
Laughed hysterically at my Pu t-shirt.
Actually that's kinda funny. One of the better ones. I've had plenty of these jokers in my extended family who consistently thought their rambling monologues edifying and hilarious, but mostly they are repetitive and tedious. Luckily these days it is socially acceptable to hide your boredom in a smart phone, but years ago we weren't so conveniently endowed. Dad's slurred speeches began and ended with "I can still dive deeper, swim farther and come up drier than the average sonofabitch." The rest of the speech was equally repetitive and made absolutely no sense. He couldn't make it to the bathroom much less swim anywhere.

Through the course of history, real drunks are probably responsible for most of wars as well as hitting people with cars. Have you ever heard of a Tea Drunk running over small children while driving? Didn't think so. That's because it doesn't happen. Tea drunks sit at home quietly with their cups and cats and flower arrangements and quartz crystals and think they are divining. They aren't, but at least nobody else dies because of it, and they pass out unobtrusively without needing to puke all over the bathroom. Let's face it, tea drunks are just cleaner people and have ten million more brain cells. The worst you can claim about us is hoarding, and it is not our fault they wrap the tea cakes in flimsy paper after all, so if the fire department has a problem with the hoarding we can just say stuff it. At least we aren't falling asleep with a cigarette like the other drunks, which has a greater chance by far of causing havoc in more ways than one.

Old Grumps bangs on the house door all day long after expressly promising not to, and he does it every 45 minutes because he thinks I want to hear a repetition of overly embellished stories he's told a million times that nobody can possibly verify. Like driving Naomi Judd's tour bus into Dolly Parton's front yard. Thing is, with a real booze drunk, I can actually believe stuff like this happens. The only time a Tea Drunk might inadvertently drive into someone's front yard is if we see a garage sale and they are selling tea pots. But seriously, how often does it happen? Okay once in awhile but nowhere near the frequency that a real liquor drunk claims to have done something that made him famous at someone else's expense. No, I come home with my tea ware quietly, the only noise you hear me making is something falling off the shelf where I'm trying to make room.

The brain cells an alcoholic requires are the ones he's going to lose on a daily basis. Tea on the other hand, requires brain cells that actually work, such as when you're trying to decide whether the new pink gaiwan at camellia-sinensis.com is real famille or transfer-ware. Is a booze drunk capable of that kind of deep scrutiny? Let's see...

"Look here, I got a record of honky tonk piano songs from the 1960s and it only cost me 15 cents at St. Vinnie's," Grumps says.

He must've bought it for the girl.
On the label it says "Pops," which doesn't mean Daddy, it means "easy listening" string arrangements which "Daddy" is actually going to hate once he comes round to listening to it. That is, if it survives the deshabille of his rolling ghetto interior, which it probably won't. Okay, fair enough, I might break a tea pot but I won't wake up one morning and wonder what the hell I was thinking when I bought it. Err... still, in my case there is always eBay for my tea drunk mistakes, I don't think that musty old easy listening LP is going anywhere except the impound lot, that same impound lot I had to rescue Grumps' cat out from just two weeks ago because that cat's daddy was stuck in jail.

Haven't seen much of Grumps over the past year, he didn't even know I've escalated my tea habit into a blog format. Last year he showed up briefly to bring me a bag of ancient herbs supposedly from a flea market and destined to cure my various physical illnesses. But the bag was so coated with cooking grease I threw it out immediately. I suppose it's the half-baked thought that counts, but you know what? I'd rather have a fully baked thought and make myself a pan of brownies because I'm sober enough to actually do it. And I'd rather be dead from tea than wonder why my kids don't call, and my friends won't open the door, and why the cops are here yet again (twice just today) to tell him "when the post office asks you to leave, you need to leave."

Looking a bit better today than when he arrived.
Well, okay, I admit had that little bit of a scuffle with a tea shop recently over that kettle I was absolutely planning to pay for, but because I'm sober I don't cause a public fuss like Grumps does. I'm able to walk away with my goods intact most of the time. No, I have nothing whatsoever in common with alcoholics and I am by far the superior creature.

Now this might seem like a case of extreme prejudice, but I'm not entirely a tea snob. I can enjoy a glass of Porto port on occasion and appreciate the qualities of aged wood casks, or take a shot of Jameson's and pretend I'm Irish even though there is no way on God's green earth a Polish Hungarian Jew can even begin to pass for one. And I fully enjoy the contact sport between California sparkling wines and defenders of the Champagne grape as much as the next person. Despite all that, you will never hear of a puerh wife-beater, at least not unless she tries to hide the credit cards. But this is truly preventable with enough education on her part of the disappearing tendencies of high end maocha pressed into "burgers," because if you read websites like puerh.fr long enough you'll begin to see the logic of tea patties dated 1910 with perfectly white neifei that cost a thousand dollars or more. And a Tea Head will never max out your credit cards, spend the kids' college fund, bankrupt the home equity line, break the cheap Yixing in a drunken rage, fall asleep during sex or pee the bed.  Never.

I'm drinking Hekai gushu on the left.
Well, I best get going now. Grumps needs me to type his Not Guilty plea to drop off at City Hall by tomorrow. He doesn't like my advice to take the tickets on the chin and plea for mercy on the fines, and doesn't agree that the cops have him on those traffic tickets. That's his right, though. With any luck, maybe he'll fix my broken lawnmower in exchange.

Requiescat in Pace.


  1. Not gonna lie, this made me cry a little, one of those a touch to close to home kinda things. I hope a semblance of peace returns to your life soon, I know all to well what it is like when someone like that rolls into your life...and I don't think you are a prejudice tea snob (ok maybe a tea snob, but you wear it well)

  2. While we all hope that peace returns to you very soon may I recommend that you have one (or five) extra cuppa tea as said on this side of the pond? That is exactly what I do when I get into more stressful situations.

    1. Don't worry, it is not that bad. The worst is kinda past now and he is pulling himself together. I'm glad at least I could offer a bit of a breather for him with a place to park for a few days.

  3. This reminds me of one of my father's childhood friends. He genuinely means well and is kind hearted but a life time of alcohol abuse has made him a complete mess. He lost his marriage, successful business and his home all because he couldn't stop drinking. Now he sleeps in the backroom of a real estate office most of the time. Occasionally he'll get a few nights sleep in someone's house when hes doing some carpentry work for them. We even took him in for a year for free to help him try and get back on his feet but he never took advantage of the opportunity. Sad to see it happen to anyone especially when they aren't bad person just someone that can't ever make the right choices or break their addiction.