Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Overcoming Tea Greed

Many years ago one November, I got certified for basic first aid/CPR training and completed a driving school contrition course.  Our excellent first aid trainer was a retired Marin firefighter who spouted tales of life and death at every turn- the most noteworthy of which involved a man who miraculously survived a bullet to his throat only to die years later choking on a blueberry.  Most of us hope for a peaceful end but the cold hard CDC statistics and the scare tactics from my driving course indicate otherwise. But before you feel too down about the eventually pending medical emergency that will cut our ropes, let us take cheer in our present circumstances that we are not dead yet. (Can ghosts access the internet is a metaphysical debate for another time.)

In my youth, I used to be quite contemptuous of Seneca's pat wisdom when forced to translate them in Latin class. But after a few decades of living, despite Seneca's apparent hypocrisy, his words ring true.
“It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor. ”

Kayak full of crabs. Crab hoarding is not a thing...
Hoarding puerh tea at the core is motivated by a not unreasonable fear of scarcity that is confirmed each passing year by the puerh tea market.  If I could readily procure desired tea at a decent price at any time like supermarket tea bags, I would not have compulsively crammed our china cabinet full of beengs.  The DIY fuzzy warm feeling from aging one's own tea or having enough to share, they are all secondary supporting rationalizations. 

Barring global nuclear fallout or a super volcanic eruption, some type of tea will always be available to consumers at an affordable price range. From a stoic point of view,  there is no reason one could not happily drink grocery store teabags as billions do every day.  Or I could be even perfectly contented drinking merely potable water. But mentally acknowledging such truths is different thing altogether from controlling one's rabid impulses.

Less than through emotional maturity and disciplined will, a collusion of factors has progressively detached me from the need hoard more puerh for the last few years.  The first big hit of a sledge hammer came from periodic fasting, my compulsive connection to food got crushed.   But already the deeply unfavorable economics of  buying newborn sheng compared to my existing hoard had dampened and killed purchasing for many years now.  The beengs I bought nearer to $100 range were really not that much better than my $10 beengs from 2005, and definitely inferior to my $20 beengs.   The smug hoarder devil sits on my left shoulder and says "See, your early hoarding saved you money so you can sit back."  Maybe so.

The home aging experiment while not a definitive failure has not been entirely a success either as the two moving targets-the aging tea and my desire for their particular taste at a specific point in time rarely overlap.  Still I'm grateful for the tea I have regardless of the collection's mediocrity.    There's nothing wrong with mediocrity as that's where most things lie.

If I learned anything from covid times,  it's to be constantly grateful.   I am grateful I can brew tea everyday while knowing when one is truly thirsty, the humblest cup of tap water sparkles in one's mouth.
 “True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing."