Tea Kettle Philosophy — Sibling Rivalry

Lapsang Souchong for me, coffee for my sibling. (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)
Lapsang Souchong for me, coffee for my sibling. (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

The kettle is on (a recent survey showed that about 30% of regular tea drinkers use a kettle on the stove to heat water), the teapot is prepped, and my mind has some time once again to drift into reverie, tending toward the philosophic variety. The idea of sibling rivalry comes to mind, especially with another holiday season approaching.

As Thanksgiving grows closer, some folks break out in a cold sweat at the mere thought of spending another holiday with relatives. Sibling rivalry is one of the main reasons (probably second only to parental issues). It can be so severe that the siblings cannot even tolerate being in the same state, let alone the same city, house, or room. For me, there were years when I had to be ready to face such questions as, “Got a steady boyfriend yet?” and “That job of yours — do you take it seriously?” I know, pretty cliché. And pretty tiresome year after year. There was also the constant one-upmanship, the sideways barbs, the pettiness, and the outright snideness. We usually avoided coming to blows, though. Small wonder even so that the approach of the holiday season sets the stomach to flip-flopping.

Sibling rivalry can be launched when children are young. Sometimes it’s by innocent statements like “Why can’t you be as smart/neat/organized/whatever as your sister/brother?” Other times it is by directly pitting one against another or favoring one over another. Having a “favorite” child can be irresistible but it is a good idea to avoid the impulse. It saves creating that feeling of rivalry between siblings.

I had hoped on one or two of these occasions that tea could be the cure, could bridge the gap and end the rivalry. Even if one of you likes a strong black tea like Lapsang Souchong and the other of you likes a premium green tea like gyokuro, there is a common ground. It’s all Camellia Sinensis. Alas, for me, this tactic never worked. It turns out my sibling prefers coffee, which upsets my tummy. Best for us both to just stay in our separate corners when it comes to those holiday gatherings. If only I could just once get the drumstick!

Well, the kettle whistle’s shrill call brings me back to the here and now. Time to steep the tea and then enjoy it. As for that other matter, may your sibling relations all be pleasant ones, and put aside any acrimony as the holidays approach.

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

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