Thursday, November 21, 2013


Sitting at the kitchen table after breakfast, a resident latched onto our small, apple basket filled with individually wrapped tea bags. She fanned them out across the table, lining them up like a train wreck. Then she opened three Tetley bags and dropped papers and tea in a pile. I watched her focused attention as I stood at the counter stirring boiling water into the strawberry flavored gelatin. Our caregiver came into the kitchen, saw the tea upheaval and rushed to rescue and re-create order.

The question of the day is this: what does it matter?

A few tea bags are not a great expense.
The wood table and ceramic tile floor are easily swept.
Who says tea bags can only be used to brew tea?
If this activity is removed, with what will we replace it?

I think the issue is that a common object was used in an uncommon way. We are accustomed to seeing tea bags carefully removed from the paper wrapping and dropped into a cup in preparation for hot water. The paper is then crumbled and neatly disposed of.

We all have our preconceptions about appropriate and inappropriate, positions that we lean into rather than carefully evaluate. These positions encourage us to criticize when someone acts differently than we would. We don’t know the story behind someone’s choices; we just know it is not what we would choose.

Does it matter? Does it cause consequences of irreparable damage? Do our grumbles emanate from a justifiable, moral base? Or is it just different?

By the by, the apple basket was named such because two small wooden, red apples each dangle from an end of short, hemp twine wrapped around a leather handle. And it’s the right size for individual tea bags. Now that I think of it, the Pennsylvania manufacturer does bill it as a tea basket. But we could name it something completely different. If we all agreed, would it matter?


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