April 21, 2011
★ Project: A Story on Love

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Dobra Tea - Burlington (4)

There is a folder on my computer that contains 100 documents each with a different “lesson” on how to use Twitter. It seems bizarre that there needs to be anything written on the subject but these lessons are essential and written from experience. I will probably never release them. IT will make for entertaining reading once I am old.

I loved the process of writing and never having to hit a publish button. it was as if the written words were a secret that would only be revealed when the time was right. I yearned for that day but, if it never came, the happiness brought to me in sharing my thoughts with digital ink was enough to satisfy my ego. Lately, I’ve been thinking if there are authors who do not write with ego. Is any writing project not come from the ego of I know something worth sharing and writing down? The inspiration inside to take a thought and believe at the core that what I have in my head is important enough for you to read and internalize. Yet, we write each day. Authors write because it makes them happy even if it is completely ego driven.

I continually get excited about the things I fall in love with. There are actions, words, people, hobbies and locations that fill my heart with joy and cause me to shift everything about my life to be with those things. For many, this sort of crazy talk is only whispered when you are speaking about a person who you’ve fallen for. For me, those are the most simplistic conveyances of love as I fall in love each week with something new and I work to become one with it while forgetting it as quickly as the first moment I became infatuated.

Maybe you’ve witnessed this in yourself where I’ve witnessed this by reading blogs written by yours truly from 1999 to the present. The lines between love and insanity are blurred as they should be. I really don’t see the difference sometimes. I’d like to share a potential excerpt of this project that will surely be expanded upon later in my long-form writing:

India, February 2011:

I gazed upon the menu in the 5 star hotel deep within the town of New Delhi. The breakfast buffet was included and I ordered a cup of coffee. The bitterness of it overwhelmed my taste buds to a point that any food following the single sip would lack taste. I was convinced this acidity would ruin my day. I politely asked for an alternative and the waiter offered tea. What he brought to the table included a single cup of dark brown tea with a small cup of honey and cream. He prepared the cup for me and my mouth immediately felt the draw to whatever this was. I returned from India with nearly 2 pounds of tea.

The statement that I fell in love with tea on that spring day would be a farce. I grew up drinking green tea with my father nearly every day once I was a teenager (sine caffeine stunts your growth). I enjoyed the warmth of tea and took my father’s words for granted as he explained the benefits of this magic beverage. Green tea, however, was his discovery. This may be something all kids experience but, I seem to observe a trend where, the things my Father gave me are “his discoveries” and, I don’t ignore the wealth of knowledge he has passed on to me as I use these lessons each day. However, there are a few things that he gave me that I’ve taken for granted and sometimes ignored, only to arrive back where I began once I’ve tested and tried his lessons or, somehow convinced myself that I discovered something for myself. This is a part of my ego and it’s one that I have not let go of easily.

The tea I discovered in New Delhi was something I  tasted nearly every day for many years but I owned this one and, I haven’t intentionally consumed coffee since that day.

Since my return, I began investing my time in learning the art of tea, the brewing methods, regions, styles, tastes, health benefits. I have a kettle and loose leaf filter at work with a tin can full of Darjeeling tea. The can was purchased for 115 Rupees in Mumbai ($2) and the tea was bought from a market among a selection of biscuits and oversized spoons for a few dollars. I have two cups of tea each day at my desk with a biscuit and, on days I am at home, a pot of oolong tea from China brews on my coffee table and I have three cups with a spot of milk and honey. There are more things I’d like to learn about tea but, the bags of Starbucks Coffee sit in my freezer growing stale. Sorry coffee, but I’m not in love with you anymore.

I will be expanding this passage in private. The love of tea, cooking, fitness, computers, technology, audio, glassware, organic foods, cleaning and fashion and even skin care. I have made it clear through my blog and to friends that I grow fascinated with one thing and commit to it for months testing theories and ideas and products with processes. I rarely master something but those around me (friends and family) have noted that they love benefiting from my “love” of such day to day things. While someone will just buy a chicken, I’ll cook chicken every night for a month pursuing different methods and styles of cooking. I will eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner and test storage capabilities and re-freezing. I’ll play with spices and side pairings and then, I won’t eat chicken for months but, when someone recommends we cook chicken, my mind is full of recipes and processes for the perfect chicken.

My Father taught me that masters are not full of book knowledge. They do not know the temperature for cooking a pie is 350 degrees. They have learned everything there is to learn, then internalized it and forgot. Think for a moment how you write in a notebook. Do you consciously plan and prepare each line of the letters or do you write in a flow?

This is my goal for each thing. I understand it is not beneficial to understand how my car works or how to encode music to get high quality sound and the benefits of certain types of headphones but, sometimes it is a value to have in my mind and I spend each and ever day mastering to the best of my ability these tasks so I can forget about them.

I may not brew a pot of coffee for months but, a house guest may request coffee and, I remove the beans from the freezer the night before, allow them to reach room temperature, set my burr grinder to medium and boil the water for 60 seconds in a Hario kettle. I apply the chemex filter to the vase and pour a bit of coffee over the beans waiting 30 seconds allowing them to bloom. Then, I pour the water over the beans in a circular motion and allow 3 minutes to brew. I have sugar cubes on standby and three other types of brewing methods if they prefer french press, pour over single brew or drip. i spend months perfecting this and now, it is internalized.

This is the love project I would like to work on. This may never reach you but, documenting these practices and, more importantly, my inspiration will benefit me for years. It’s almost like a field guide or a mini biography. I love an occasional cigar. Why? When was my first cigar? Who was I with? What did I smoke and where did I go and what brands did I try that lead me to buy a mini humidor and butane lighters and special cigar cases to keep my cigars at a right temperature. Why do I buy a cigar when I travel to keep with me and why do I remove the labels so I can rely on the smell alone?

These inspirations and loves deserve to be documented because, after all, my ego is at stake.

Thanks for reading and I wish to one day share these with you.