Kara Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

In memoriam: Mug

Note: This post was written before I realized I was trans and/or before I came out online. As such, I might refer to myself as a man or use my deadname. Please read my name policy to understand how you should refer to me.

My favourite mug, Mug

Two weeks ago to this day, I broke my favourite mug. I was heartbroken.

I don't like calling myself a materialist, but we all place sentimental value on certain items when they become important to us. Up until two years or so ago, I rotated among three or four different mugs for my tea--yes, mugs. "Cups" are for prats and amateurs. Hardcore tea-drinkers drink tea by the mug, and the really hardcore tea enthusiasts (I am not) drink it by the bowl in elaborate Japanese tea ceremonies. There's literature about this sort of thing. But I digress.

Then I started using only one mug. My mug. It just felt comfortable: perfect shape, an attractive colour and calm design on the outside, and a handle that didn't hurt my fingers. It held a good amount of tea. I'd use it for every single cup, rinsing it, washing it out with baking soda every couple of days. I treated that mug like royalty. But ultimately, I failed it.

We were sitting outside; I was reading and Mug was relaxing on the table next to me, holding some tea. I went to take a sip and was pleased to discover that Mug had allowed it to radiate just enough heat that the tea was now cool enough to drink but not so cool as to be unpleasant. I went to replace Mug on the table ... and that's when it happened. I missed the table, and when my hand released its grasp on Mug, it plummeted to the cement stones beneath us, cleaving cleaning in two.

I was in shock.

My first reaction, of course, was denial. It couldn't have happened. Anything but this. People in Iran were protesting about the relection of Ahmadinejad, and all I could think about was, "No way, no way, that's my favourite mug." Shallow, yes. But it had a certain immediacy that cast a spell over me. I knew that nothing I could do would make it better. I needed a montage, one of those sappy ones where Mug is sitting on a swing and I'm pushing it back and forth. That kind of thing.

Yes, it was a fairly clean break, but not a perfect one. My brother has glued it back together for me, and now it sits on my desk, a facade of wholeness. I may use it to hold pens or something. Yet never again will I taste tea from its lips.

After rushing inside and pondering how I could fix the situation, I determined I had only one viable option: find a replacement. Now, I realize that this isn't a healthy response when losing a loved one. You can't go around replacing children after all, and I can never truly replace Mug. However, I had to find a ... successor.

For all I loved Mug, it was completely anonymous. It bore no identifying marks, not even a "Made in China" label (even though it probably was). I can't remember where I acquired it, or how, or even what company made it. Without any of this information, all I could do was search eBay for "blue mug" and hope for the best.

Eeyore mug

Unfortunately, I couldn't find an identical match to Mug in any of the fourteen pages of search results. It was a long shot at best. However, I did find a mug of a similar size with a picture of Eeyore on it, and that was the next best thing.

Today, my Eeyore mug arrived. I have already consumed several cups of tea from it; it's the beginning of a beautiful new relationship. Although it can never truly replace my favourite Mug, in time my wound will hurt less, scab over, and I'll have all those fond memories of Mug and myself, together with tea. Until then, I can only drink more tea to assuage my pain, and stare at my smiling Eeyore (made in Taiwan).

This post is dedicated to the memory of Mug, 2006-2009. Everything a tea-drinker could ask for, and then more.