My favorite writing prompt this week comes from The One Minute Writer, and they simply asked if I had a “go-to” mug or cup. This notion is sort of a running joke in my house, so I thought it was worth a response!
For a couple of years now, I’ve teased my husband about only drinking from one coffee cup, day in and day out. It’s not as if we don’t have a dozen sizeable mugs, plus the boring old cups that match the dishes, lined up in the cabinet and ready for use. No, his Starbucks mug is used after dinner every night, filled with water and left in the sink at bedtime, and hand-washed the following afternoon in preparation for its next use (he has no time for coffee before work in the morning, or I’d be hand-washing the cup twice a day). Every other mug we own goes in the dishwasher immediately after use, sits there until the dishwasher fills up, and sometimes doesn’t return to its shelf in the cabinet for a week. The only time my husband’s cup can go in the dishwasher is if all of the following conditions are met: 1) he has finished his evening coffee, 2) the dishwasher is full and ready to be run immediately upon adding the cup to the top rack, and 3) my schedule allows time to unload the clean dishes before the cup is needed again. A few times I tried presenting the evening cuppa joe in a different mug, only to be met with a wounded look and a pitiful, “Where is my cup?” and finally decided it wasn’t worth the guilt trip to avoid hand-washing a single mug. I send up a daily prayer that I not be the one to drop this beloved mug on the unforgiving tile floor…
I, on the other hand, couldn’t care less which mug I use for my cup of hot cocoa or herbal tea after dinner. We’ve got an extensive collection of large Starbucks mugs from every Asian city we visited while living in Japan, and I am perfectly happy to just rotate through them, so as not to subject only one or two to excessive trips through the dishwasher. However, this winter I’ve formally adopted the English custom of afternoon tea, usually drunk while I’m trying to dream up a blog post, and I’ve noticed that I habitually reach for one of two plain glass mugs we bought during some move, when our own dishes had not yet arrived and we could no longer tolerate the deprivation we felt drinking from the dainty six-ounce tea cups in the loaner set of tableware. The glass mug is nothing special…just a utilitarian Anchor Hocking mug which can be found on the shelf of any Walmart store in the US. Yet something about this mug is like inviting an old friend for afternoon tea–it’s comforting and familiar, and makes no demands, a perfect foil for the blinking cursor on the screen before me. It’s a heavy mug, with glass thick enough to take an occasional whack without complaint, but well-balanced, with a handle that sits comfortably in my grip. More importantly, there is just enough headroom to make twelve ounces of tea (my preferred volume) and carry it upstairs to my office without spilling along the way.
I’m still happy to use whatever mug I pull down from the cabinet for my evening beverage, but my unpretentious afternoon tea mug now sits in the sink beside my husband’s Starbucks mug, waiting for its daily hand-washing. There is decidedly less teasing on my part, while the prayers for protection from an unfortunate demise on the tile floor have doubled.