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German housemate obsessed with my tea


Amsterdam, Autumn 2000 —


My German housemate is obsessed with my tea. It's annoying beyond all proportion, and I'm going to have to ask him not to talk about it any more.

I drink tea. I make a cup of tea for any reason, or for no reason. It is confounding to me that this could be fascinating to a grown man of above-average intelligence.

But once or twice a week, when R_ and I are home at the same time and he sees me getting a second cup, he will say — you could set your watch by it — "You are having another cup of tea?"

For a while I was eating spaghetti a lot, and R_ also found this quite intriguing. I admit, spaghetti every day for a few days in a row isn't Galloping Gourmet — but it's not that fascinating, either.

The other evening, I made some toast with peanut butter and Nutella. Nutella is a chocolate/hazelnut spread; what its "real" purpose is, I don't know. It's to do with putting it on bread, I'm pretty sure. To me, a little creativity is not strange. Indeed, chocolate and peanut butter have a natural affinity* — and nobody got hurt by it either. R_ thought it strange.

It's the little things that really pry themselves into my head and heart, and wind up taking more space than they deserve. And, as strange as it may sound, I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to ask R_ if we can stop talking about my tea.


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* In fairness, I have learned more recently that a combination of peanut butter and chocolate is a treat peculiar to America — or at least unavailable in Europe as far as I've seen. "Reese's Peanut Butter Cup" is one of the small pleasures of American culture that I've not experienced over here.

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Steve Edwards