Thursday, July 05, 2007

Zen and the Art of Letting Go of Travel Mugs

UPDATE: Oh hurrah! Oh joy! I found my mug! Phew. I really wasn't feeling all that Zen.

Rainy, sticky, bleak sadness—today feels just like a Monday (sorry, Dive, not all of us carry a Freak Flag for Mondays). Even worse, because I’m convinced that I lost my favorite travel mug to stupidity. Part of me holds out hope that I just left my mug on the kitchen table, but deep down I’m certain that I left my faithful friend on the roof of my car and drove off without it. My efforts to be Zen about this and realize that attachment to material possessions leads to suffering have me rolling my eyes at myself. Gimme my damn mug back, Universe!

If I have indeed lost my dear mug, it will be the end of an era for me. In my rant about Starbucks (see earlier link), I shared that my travel mug came from Coffee Connection, the late, mourned Boston coffee roaster taken over by Starbucks in the early 90s. I’d never really held onto a travel mug before, but I kept that one as a symbol of my resolve to resist the McDonaldization of coffee. Until coffee permeated its plastic pores, I used the mug for everything from coffee to booze to water to life itself. That mug was my appendage as a graduate student—people rarely saw me without it. Even my
inspirational Nietzsche mug failed to displace its prominence in my life. That mug traveled with me to Montana and came home with me again. I’ve taken the mug to rock shows, anti-globalization rallies, and peace vigils. It made the transition from backpack to brief case, allowing me to start my work morning with something other than bland, flavorless, inorganic colored water. Although Fluff has accompanied me on my exotic travels, my travel mug has been my faithful friend through the drudgery of day-to-day life.

Over the years, the Coffee Connection logo faded from washing, and the handle for the lid chipped off. The lid has scratch marks galore, and I prefer to ignore those studies about the linings of travel mugs as terrariums for unknown life forms. Ugly as it became, my mug is my friend. Its heft and feel are as familiar to me as my own hand. And so although I know that I shouldn’t form attachments to material things, I have a very strong attachment to my travel mug. I want it back. I want to go home and find it sitting on my kitchen table, laughing at me. Or, at least find it, unharmed, close to where I parked my car. Alas, I fear I may have to accept that I finally lost it, find a new mug, and start a new chapter.

Anyone know any good mantras?


Medbh said...

If it fell off your car wouldn't it be in the vicinity of where you were parked?
Sorry about that.
My favorite is: I stand in circles of light which nothing may cross.
More for strength and protection I guess.

Terroni said...

I'm currently living on "Fake it 'til you make it"...but that may not really suit your purposes.

I'm having mixed results.

zirelda said...

Ah, I remember when I lost my Steaming Bean mug. I was beside myself for days. Never did replace it. It just didn't seem right.

Now I keep a mug at work which is beginning to resemble my old loved mug.

Mantra: Life is good and my karma will come back to me.

Maria said...

Hmm....not coming up with any pithy words that work.

I say, go out there and make yourself buy another mug the next time that you are in a great mood and let that be your sub cup until the real ones comes back home.

Pretty soon, you will be attached to the sub cup. It was kind of like when our dog died and we didn't want to get a new one because he would never be able to replace Zip. Well, we decided to buy Sport, our sub dog. And wouldn't you know it, Sport became our new Zip in no time.

But, we do remember Zip fondly, of course...

Robyn said...

Oh, honey, I am so sorry. I know what how important those treasured possessions are--especially when they accompany you from backpack to briefcase (great line!).

I don't have any mantras to share, but I used to have a favorite mug that had an old hag on it, and she said, "I say, go ahead and wave at those construction workers."

Before Girl said...

Steaming Bean, zirelda? Sounds sort of gross. Like, "Hey watch where you're walking-you almost stepped on a steaming bean from that dog!"

I also lost my college travel mug. Ah, how many sodas and waters kept the bugs out by the cover, how many times I used it for Theraflu because it would stay piping hot for hours. I don't know why I let Dan throw it out. I don't think they make them anymore with the uniform chubbiness-now they are all with the skinny bottom so it fits in your car cupholder.

Say to yourself, "Trvel mugs are only a buck at the Xmas tree shoppe."

dive said...

"Fuck that! Let's dance!" usually works for me …

Conan Drumm said...

Great you got it back... my mantra in such situations is ...fuck...fuck...fuck...fuck...fuck...fuck...fuck...fuck...fuck...fuck...fuck...fuck...fuck...fuck...fuck...fuck...fuck...fuck...fuck...fuck...fuck...fuckingfuck...fuck

Andraste said...

My mantra: "Well, yes, I WILL have another. Thank you, bartender."

Glad you found your mug. Now fill it with vodka and have a cracking weekend, lambkin.

zirelda said...

Funny Before Girl. No, the Steaming Bean was the most wonderful coffee shop in the tiniest town I ever lived in. Snif. But I see your point.