Timelessness in the post-plastic age
I sipped my iced tea. The cold ice singed my teeth causing a painful sensation. The straws have recently been outlawed; hence I was reduced to sipping the iced tea rather than sucking it through an environmentally damaging plastic straw. I could feel the aroma of the mint leaves floating alongside the ice. I wondered why I had never felt that aroma before. I always used a straw earlier. The straw penetrated the superficial layers into the depths of the fluid. Where the Iced tea was sweeter and a little less cold. Less aromatic too. As I used to suck the fluid it bypassed the sensitive teeth right into the palate and the back of my tongue where the taste buds were. I could “drink” my iced tea thus at a comfortable distance. The tumbler need not even be in my visual field. That left me free to concentrate on the book or the screen I was reading. No longer. The ban on plastic products put paid to that convenience. Now I had to put away that book, while I sipped gingerly on the lemon iced tea. I could not reach the sugary not so cold tea without the aroma of the mint. First, I had to encounter the floating ice and the carelessly floating mint leaves. The sugar was diluted due to the melting ice. And this fluid touched my incisor teeth numbing them even as the aroma hit my nose. I was perplexed. This was not what I had bargained for. So, I kept the tumbler down and took a breath. I looked around. This was the cafe at the largest bookstore in the town. A neat place to get a book and surreptitiously read while sipping your iced tea. But today, I started noticing the other customers. There were five or six ladies in the restaurant. A group of the trio were talking loudly and irritatingly. The others were immersed in their books. I took a sip again. Cautioned by the previous experience, this time I took a smaller sip. It still numbed my teeth but it was tolerable this time. I glanced at my book. I mulled the last paragraph. I re-read the line, which I had found entrancing, relishing it again, as I rolled the tea in the mouth as if it were single malt. The tangy taste of tea and lemon was good. One wanted to take another sip. But not so soon. Let the numbed teeth come back to life. Watch your breath. Count your heart beats. Smell the book. Look around. And then muster enough courage to subject my innocuous teeth for another assault of the iced tea. It was almost like a ritual. Making the time pass slowly. Taking one to the depth of the moment. Timelessness!