Friday, July 23, 2010

My Coffee Mug


I have many cups in which to contain my beverages and I have my favorites. When I'm drinking milk, I like to go for the olive green on, I like the contrast in color. When I'm drinking tea, it's almost always the navy blue one for reasons I have yet to invent. When it's coffee, I like to use that new squatty, blue and white striped one that I actually paid full price for at The Cook's Nook. I have a huge, glass tumbler that makes ice water a thousand times more refreshing than any other vessel.

When it comes to a to-go option, though, I really don't like anything in my cupboard. I have three in my collection, so I can't really justify buying a new one (but for the record, I'd really like a this http://tinyurl.com/2az2fap). So since I have three from which to choose, I go through them and list the qualities.

There's the Einstein Brother's mug that has a broken seal and never fits in a cup holder. I should chuck it but I just can't yet.
Then, there's the other Einstein one that doesn't hold as much as it would seem, and also it was obviously created for right-handed drinkers. It frustrates me and I end up spilling it every time.
So, there's no other choice. I have to go with this coffee mug. This coffee mug is perfect in nearly every way. It keeps my beverage of choice piping hot for quite a long time. The internal capacity far surpasses that of the others. All of the seals are in tact and it's lack of handle makes it easy to grip and ambidextrous. So what's wrong with this seemingly perfect chalice? Memories. Let me tell you about how I acquired this coffee mug.

In my last few weeks at MidAmerica, I was beginning to feel pretty nostalgic. I'd fostered and expertly honed a strong sense of cynicism during my tenure but when the end was in sight, I allowed it to fall away a little--always keeping it in my back pocket. I'd walk through the mall with my shoes off and feel the silky grass that can only be found on that specific spot on campus and think of all the good times. Oh, it was breezy and light and loverly. A good time for everyone.
I'd decided that maybe I did learn life-lessons that they were trying to teach me. Maybe I was being too hard on them* and maybe they weren't as conservative, sexist, offensive (etc...) as I'd always been quick to assume them* to be.
*I don't know who "them" are and I didn't at the time. I suffered from misdirected angst.

And so I walked into the practice for graduation. Everyone had their assigned seats and I was stuck between someone I'd never met and an RA that I had, ironically, very recently met half-passed out at a bar in one of the pool-playing-establishments in town. I didn't know or like these people but who could possibly care? I was flying. I was in love but not with a person. I had a life ahead of me and as soon as these minor details were taken care of, then we could have a party and then move along. So I'm sitting there at graduation practice whoever it was that read the names was practicing reading all of the names. And that was getting a little boring but what can you do? Then we prayed a lot and sang some hymns and I was starting to get a smidge testy, bored, anxious. And then just as my wits were just about to their fraying points the guy in charge says, "Alright I think that's about it--oh, wait. No. Not yet." So-and-so (who is, oddly enough, only one person) from the alumni association wanted to present us with a gift.

She stood up there for what seemed like days talking about these travel coffee mugs. They are a lovely shade of brown, they hold some ounces of liquid, and they are a metaphor for your life. You see because sometimes people refer to their "lot in life" as their "cup". See how that works out? See how that metaphor was obviously an afterthought? Yeah. So my patience is already running thin when she says something to the effect of, "this cup will come in so handy, fellows, when you're running off to the office or, ladies, when you're driving the kids to their doctor appointments or whathave you."
Internal dialog: Oh, yeah, because men are the only ones who have real jobs and women just exist to produce and cart around children. Libby, cool it. Sometimes in life, men will go to an office and women will drive children to places. Just calm down.
Alumni Lady: Or, girls, sometimes after a long afternoon you just want a treat. So you can make yourself a cup of coffee and then vacuum the floor.
Somewhat-Internal dialog: Vacuum the floor? Vacuum the floor?! "Oh, Jesus Christ!"

So, I decided that I was finished listening to the glories of a travel coffee mug, and I stood up and collected my things. Humiliation? Check. Cynicism still there? In full force. A sliver of dignity? We'll see, I mean I did just use the lord's name in vain right before the closing prayer. And I dismissed myself. On the way out, I grabbed a coffee mug because, hey, I didn't have a coffee mug.

All that to say that every time that I use this coffee mug, I think of how I don't own a vacuum.

1 comment:

JD and Jamie said...

My graduation gift was a pocket sized bible containing only the new testament. That's really all they could afford with my $22,000/year tuition? Thanks, folks.
At least I didn't have to sit through a let's-make-sure-you-know-your-"biblical"-gender-roles speech to get it.

I want to buy you a new travel mug now.

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