What's in Your Wallet? There's a Little Aluminum Foil Package In Mine.

let it bleedYou can’t always get what you want

but if you try sometime you find

you get what you need.

The Rolling Stones-1969

I don’t leave it to chance anymore. There is always one in my wallet, sealed in its aluminum pouch. It was Barb’s idea. “You’re out and about and wish you had one, and then you get irritated when you try to buy one and can’t get the type you like.” After almost forty years of marriage, I have learned to listen to my wife on matters of such importance.

It wasn’t always a necessity. I used to be able to get them with ease. Every store had one of my favorites. Barb could buy them for me anywhere. We could share one, or I could grab one even if Barb wasn’t around.

It is a lot tougher to find what I want now. Last month we were headed for what promised to be an interesting evening at the home of friends. From past experience, I knew our hosts wouldn’t have any and it would be prudent to bring my own. Maybe I was distracted when we left our house, but I forgot to grab one or two from my stash. Realizing my slip-up, we stopped at a convenience store and I searched the shelves. I found plenty of exotic varieties. But where were my favorites? I unearthed a pile of them in the back of the store, unwrapped, unappealing, and not for sale. But I convinced the clerk I absolutely had to have one, and we negotiated a price. We closed the deal and the night was saved…I had my Lipton Tea Bag.

Yes, when it comes to my tea, I am a demanding purist. Give it to me black, without bergamot or orange rind. Load it with caffeine and make the water hot enough for a full, rich brew. No fancy blend is needed. Plain old English Breakfast will do nicely. But the supermarkets are crowded with frou-frou flavors, and restaurants are even worse. When I ask for tea at the trendy neighborhood trattoria, the waitress will flip open the polished rosewood box and tell me they “have Herbal Raspberry Zapper and Decaffeinated Green and of course Chamomile with Rose Hips.” Or the snooty waiter at the four star joint will tell turn up his nose and say “we have first blush, the finest tea in the world,” for a mere $25.00 a cup. I beg for Lipton. And if my favorites cannot be found? I whip the aluminum pouch from my wallet, rip it open, and ask for a pot of boiling water. Let them charge me a corkage fee, I am brewing my own! I was never a Boy Scout, but now I know. When it comes to my favorite drink, just like everything else in life, it pays to be prepared.

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