I read this piece when Lou Pulford posted it to Facebook a few days ago, and requested it for the blog, and she kindly said yes, I could share, so, here we are…
In my head, the world is like an enormous teapot; the little people are sheltered by the bright threads of its tea cosy, sustained by the amber nectar which flows abundantly from its slender spout, warmed by the gentle heat which emanates from deep within its belly. Whenever the pot begins to run dry, it is swiftly refilled by the loving hands of some eternal sky-deity, pouring forth the holy boiling water from their grail-like kettle.
In such a world, where all are cosy, warm, wrapped in bright threads and sustained by tasty tea, each person is at ease and free to go about the important business of being nice to every other person on the face of the teapot. There are always enough hugs to go around, there is always time to listen, time to chat, time to rest or play or lend a helping hand because the important things like sustenance and shelter are already provided freely for all by the teapot. In my head, there is a plate of jammy dodgers beside the teapot and those who have the misfortune to fall off (for everyone falls off the pot eventually) simply fall into the marvellous plate of jammy dodgers where they can gorge themselves silly for all eternity.
Sadly I am a mentally unstable and highly deluded individual and life is not like this at all.
In reality, the teapot is not completely covered by the tea cosy. There are areas where people are forced to subside without the bright threads, either burning themselves on the scalding barren surface of the pot, or freezing to death upon the handle.
Sadly, many people live far from the life giving spout, and those who do live near it tend to guard it jealously, charging phenomenal prices to those who wish to sip or denying access to the life giving amber nectar entirely.
In reality, there is war on the surface of the teapot. People war over the threads of the tea cosy, they war over which threads belong to who. Sometimes they enslave eachother, force these slaves to gather up all the threads and then try to sell the threads to those who are already suffocating under the weight of their own thread piles.
Sadly, while everyone’s back is turned, some sneaky bastards have slipped up to the lid and polluted the blessed golden blend with copious amounts of filthy Assam. (A little Assam is of course necessary in a good blend, but too much can be fatal) Now even the greedy guzzlers at the spout begin to die and, although some do mutter under their thread piles about the suspiciously malty taste of the tea, their mutterings are soothed and silenced by the surreptitious addition of more placating pollutants to the mix; namely milk and sugar.
Sugar is of course addictive. More war breaks out over the sugar. Some people try to ban the sugar. Others try to grab all the sugar for themselves. Many die in a sticky heap of mangled sugar and threads while still more starve having never tasted sugar or felt the warmth of thread upon their skin.
This is the reality and this is why no one has time to go about the important business of being nice to every other person on the face of the teapot. This is why there are never enough hugs to go around, never time to listen, time to chat, time to rest or play or lend a helping hand because the important things like sustenance and shelter are not actually being provided freely for all by the teapot. They never have been and they never will be.
In reality, there is no plate of jammy dodgers beside the teapot and those who have the misfortune to fall off (for everyone falls off the pot eventually) simply fall onto the hard work surface of an over burdened domestic goddess and are swept into the cosmic garbage bin without a second thought.
Now I know what some of you are thinking, I know because it was my first reaction to this awful epiphany too but please, put the knitting needles down gentlemen, we cannot knit our way out of this – not this time. I know every fibre of your being is straining to try and knit a bigger tea cosy that covers the entire pot but, trust me, it cannot be done. You will die in the attempt and your tattered fingers will shed blood like tears to stain the tea cosy and even darker shade of crimson. No I’m sorry but for once there is a problem that is too large to be solved by a pair of knitting needles.
And I know what others of you are thinking, because it was my second reaction, but please, put down those home-made energy ray pistols ladies, I’m sorry but no amount of violent vigilantism is going to help us this time. If you start rampaging about the streets in your mask and cape, attempting to ‘take out’ the greedy perpetrators of world injustice you will end your days incarcerated in a padded cell. No, I’m sorry but for once capes and masks are not the answer either.
I did have a last thought which has perhaps occurred to some of you as well, that of attempting to leave the teapot entirely by means of some mad, ingenious invention… but then I remembered that I am not a genius. Only mad, and this is no help at all.
I am however starting to grow my own tea. In old baked bean tins. In discarded wellington boots. In yoghurt pots on window sills and in cracked and broken coffee mugs. (I may not have sugar or milk, but good tea does not need toxins added to it to enhance its flavour.) When I see a friend or family member in need of tea, I am pouring them a brew and passing them some seeds and a little pot of earth. This process of growing tea has taught me something – we can be tea to ourselves and to eachother.
I know you love that concept as much as I do so I’m going to say it again,
“We can be tea to ourselves and eachother”
And what I mean by that is that we can begin to see one another as fragile, porcelain cups (oftentimes cracked and weeping) holding varying amounts of amber nectar. We can see ourselves like this too and when we start to look at everyone and ourselves of cups of tea we can judge whether a person is able to give us a sip of their time, their resources, their help… essentially a sip of themselves, or whether we need to be helping them to be refilled. We might see ourselves as pretty empty and that might well be true, but I suspect we don’t have the right to drink someone else dry just to save ourselves.
This small change in perspective from one small group of slightly insane and tea obsessed individuals will not save the world. But in some small way, in this small space, for one small portion of time, it might mean that there are a few more hugs to go around, a few more people with time to listen or to chat, a little more opportunity to rest or play or lend a helping hand because we are making it our responsibility to shelter and sustain eachother as well as ourselves.
As for the plate of jammy dodgers, well, everyone has to have dream don’t they? I suppose I’ve not given up hope on those just yet…