I Owe This Morning’s Tea to George Orwell

Not Prophecy So Much as Observation

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Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash

73 years ago, George Orwell wrote:

“All true tea lovers not only like their tea strong, but like it a little stronger with each year that passes — a fact which is recognized in the extra ration issued to old-age pensioners.”

Today I realized how true that is.

My tea cup of choice is a tall, 12-ounce cup from Starbucks. For the past 2 years, I’ve been brewing my tea with either 2 tea bags (PG Tips) or 2 teaspoons of loose tea leaves.

Such was my first cup this morning.

But it wasn’t so satisfying as it was yesterday morning. It didn’t seem strong enough for some reason. Two teaspoons of leaves didn’t quite satisfy me.

Each type of tea has an optimal steeping time, depending on its type and the drinker’s preference. For me, with my strong black Assam tea, it’s 4 and a half minutes.

For a stronger brew, one adds more tea, rather than increasing the steeping time, which only makes the tea more bitter.

For my second cup, I used 3 teaspoons of leaves. The result? Too strong. Finally, the third cup, with 2–1/2 teaspoons of leaves, was perfect.

George was right.

Now my only problem is trying to figure out how to brew a cup of tea with 2–1/2 tea bags. A hopeless task? Perhaps.

But as Arthur Wing Pinero so wisely said, “Where’s there’s tea, there’s hope.”

An Incredibly Useful Tool. And It’s FREE!

I’ve written before about e-books, e-readers, and the like. Now I’d like to introduce you to a recent discovery I made regarding my local public library and its collection.

Libby is a simple app I discovered whilst browsing through the Apple App Store. I was so intrigued that I downloaded it to my iPhone…

…and then had to go to the library to get a new library card, since my old one had expired a couple of years ago. My friend Stacey took me, since (1) I don’t have a car and (2) our public transit system is not the best in the world. Had I gone by bus, it would have involved one transfer and a long wait, only to be repeated to get home again.

Altogether, a minimum of 4 hours transportation time. And that didn’t include the time I’d spend perusing the stacks.

Once I had the new card, I was done. Stacey spent some time browsing and checking out a few videos, after which I treated her to lunch.

Then it was back home,  and time to configure Libby.

It Was So Simple!

Libby first asked me for my library card number. Once it was confirmed, it then asked me a few questions about my reading preferences: did I prefer to read books in the Libby app? On my Kindle or Nook? How about on my laptop with the desktop Libby program?

Then it was off to the library…without leaving the house!

While policies may vary from library to library, the Monroe County (New York) Public Library system allows me to check out and download 8 books for 21 days each. There are also magazines, as well as audio books.

When I’m done with the current book, I just open the menu and select “Return To Library.” POOF! It’s gone from my device.

Now For The Best Part

I’ve installed Libby on my iPhone, my iPad, my Kindle, my Nook, and my Windows laptop. If I begin reading a book on the iPhone and then move over to one of the other devices, Libby asks me if I want to start anew or to sync to where I’ve read on the iPhone. From then on, Libby will always open to the furthest point I’ve read.

Okay, I stand corrected: that’s the second best thing about Libby. The best thing is it’s free!

So Why Am I Writing About Libby?

Because I’m not the only old fart senior citizen who has trouble getting around. And I thought Libby is a great idea that needs to be shared by anyone who reads.

Now go read a book!

Well, THIS Certainly Sucks!

I’m 68 years old, and as for as long as I can remember I’ve always come down with a summer cold. And this year is no different.

It started with me not being able to sleep through the night. I was up several times, feeling anxious for some reason. When I finally did manage to get some sleep, I woke up with a sore throat, clogged sinuses, and a massive headache.

There’s something terribly depressing about summer colds–besides the fact that it’s the wrong time of year to get them. Colds are for the winter, when we’re already so miserable that one more thing piled on top of the cold, the damp, the ice and snow, doesn’t make that much of a difference.

But the summer is supposed to be for fun, not misery.

And so sit surrounded by tissues and cough syrup and aspirin, feeling sorry for myself. Hey! Nobody else will do it.

It’s almost 80 degrees out, and here I am, huddled under a blanket, both sweating and shivering, wondering which of the many gods I don’t believe in has it in for me.

And I wonder if I should call my doctor and see about getting this year’s flu shot–or if this is the flu and it’s too late.

I hate being sick.

Getting Old. It Ain’t For Sissies

Are you of my generation? Remember when we actually had to go outside to play with our friends? And how rough we had it without Instagram and Snapchat? We had to take pictures with film cameras, send the film out for processing, then order reprints before we could go door-to-door handing out prints to our friends in order to show them what we had for breakfast two weeks ago. Or was it three?

Remember eating lunch at Tommy’s house, and calling his mother “Mom?” And everyone was okay with that?

I grew up in a military family, on military bases. “Sticker shock” describes the feeling I had when the cost of a movie ticket jumped from 15 to 25 cents.

And the theater itself! We had to walk a mile each way, uphill, in the snow to get there. Well, it was Texas flatland, so forget the snow…and the uphill. But it really was a mile. (I know this for a fact because that’s what the driver of the free shuttle bus measured it when I asked him.)

Later, in high school, the movie ticket was a whopping 35 cents, which made my Friday night dates (movie, drinks, and shared large popcorn) take a huge chunck ($1.50) out of my weekly allowance of $10. Why, to take my girlfriend to the Senior prom, I had to save my entire allowance for TWO WHOLE WEEKS in order to be able to take my date first to the Olde San Francisco Steakhouse for dinner ($10 for the two of us), buy her a corsage, and buy the tickets to the prom.

Nowadays the movie ticket costs $12 dollars a pop, or about half the price of a large drink and a large popcorn. I don’t go to those theaters, because the last time I went, the recliner armchairs were so comfortable I fell asleep and missed the whole movie.

I remember visiting my grandparents for family get-togethers, and seeing my cousins. We all sat around listening to the aunts and uncles moaning about their health problems. But you know what? Today, in 2018, that generation is gone…and when I meet with my cousins via Facebook, our discussions are the same: health problems.

We’ve become our aunts and uncles, our parents.

So when I see younger generations complain about us Boomers, I just smile and think, your day is coming.

“Five to one, baby. One in five.
No one here gets out alive.” Jim Morrison

Growing up – it’s a trap!