When the Kettle Quits

I drink a lot of tea. 

Green tea, mostly and all the varieties that come with that. Matcha. Sencha. Gunpowder. Bancha. Even Genmaicha; green tea with bits of puffed rice in it. White tea. Chamomile. Bedtime Tea. Tea for colds, tea for antioxidants. Tea with Kombacha in it. Tea with other kinds of tea in it. Green tea with citrus notes and lemon grass cuttings.
I love the variety, trying new ones, falling back on my old favorites when I need the comfort of a steady flavor.
I know you don’t pour boiling water over the delicate white or green teas; you wait a minute or two until it’s cooled a little. Then you pour it over the bag, the sound of the hot water hitting the bottom of my mug, the swirl of the tea bag in the steaming water. The clink of the electric kettle being set back into its cradle.
It’s a morning ritual I love.
I wring a lot of joy and comfort out of those first few minutes of my morning, usually with the black pre-dawn air pressing in at the windows. Usually with Benji perched on my left hip, my right hand free to click down the button to start the kettle, the very first thing I do. Unlocking the back door for Toby to go do his morning business, turning the porch light on for him so he can see.
The sound of the water beginning to boil – rising in volume as I putter around the kitchen getting Benji his juice, trying not to wake up Ellie.

Today, after we got back from a family outing to the Galleria mall (so exciting, a mall in the big city!) I clicked the kettle on. The familiar red light didn’t shine to me, it’s cheery light letting me know it was working on my water. I clicked a few more times, unplugged it from the wall and plugged it back in.
I let out a thin, wordless cry of disbelief. Click. Click. Nothing. Nooooooooooo.
I heated the water up in a pan this afternoon. I can assure you, it does not taste the same. It’s all tinged with the iron from the pot and I swear I can taste the myriad of flavors from all of the vegetables and pasta we’ve cooked in the pot over the last ten years. Ugh.
It occurred to me the kettle was a good metaphor for life.
Sometimes the things we love the most stop working. Or being. And all of the thousands of moments of comfort we’ve collected over the years from its steady performance feels wasted. What was the point? If the kettle was just going to quit on me?
But then I remembered a beautiful truth. Now I get to buy a NEW ONE! Yippie!!
Did I just devote this entire blog entry to my kettle? Yes, yes I did. May she rest in peace.
I’ll have to break in a new kettle though, that’s never fun. It smells all new and plastic-like from the factory. You have it wash it well, run the water through a few times to get rid of the ‘new’ taste of it.

The lever you click down to start the water is stiff, unyielding. It takes time for you and your kettle to settle into each other’s ways.

Anyway, I guess I just wanted to say, if the kettle quits, just go get a new one, eh? Then drink on my fellow tea-lovers, drink on!

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