I don’t understand it. I’m a tea snob. Lipton is unacceptable. It’s not tea – at all.
And yet when I fly anywhere, there’s this thing in me that relishes a hot tea. Even Lipton.
It’s silly, maybe, or sentimental, more likely. I first fell in love with this practice in 2002 when I did my first “big” international flight. I was part of a large show choir that had been touring the USA for one and a half months already. Then, we were off to Europe. It was late, I was exhausted and slightly miserable (thanks partially to my of-yet undiagnosed brain damage from a car accident that had been causing issues on tour).
The flight attendants came through with a steaming pot of something. I knew I wouldn’t drink coffee, but they had tea. My grandma loved her hot tea every day, so I thought, Well, I’ll give it a try. What could it hurt?
Grandma drank her tea black, but I was feeling the cream and sugar might ease me into it. The flight attendant smilingly handed me a steaming cup of water, a packaged Lipton tea bag, a packet of sugar, and two creamers. She passed on. I stared down at the cup, took out the teabag, and dunked it in.
When the brew was dark and rich looking, I added in the sugar and cream, stirring lazily with a wooden stick. Being a newbie to hot tea, I burnt the roof of my mouth. But that didn’t stop me from taking another sip a few minutes later. And then downing the whole cup shortly after.
When the flight attendants came back through with more beverage service, I got another cup.
And, though I now skip the add-ins and drink my tea as Grandma once did, I have been enjoying a hot cuppa on airplanes ever since.
It’s bizarre. It’s strange. It’s unconventionally conventional for me, and I love it. Don’t ask me why.