The Origins of Eccentricity

I make my tea with ten ounces
of water just off the boil,
instead of the recommended eight.
I don’t know why it seems a worthy exchange—
diluted tea for an extra two ounces of it.
Where does this frugality come from?

Perhaps this is some sort of ancestral
angst, leftover from my forebears
who went through potato famines and
wars and the Great Depression.
Nothing wasted, not a single thread or crumb.
Milk every last bit, whether the threadbare
shirt or the stale bread or the luxury
of a single cup of good tea.

But it hardly seems fair
to put the burden of my eccentricities
on these poor beleaguered souls,
long dead and gone, with their shirts
and their crumbs and potatoes and wars.
Their frugality was hard-won
and even harder abandoned.

I do not suffer from any severe rationing;
I enjoy white tea and bittersweet chocolate
as my solitary indulgence.

Maybe it’s me, after all. Maybe I hate
following directions, or even suggested uses.
Maybe the most pleasure I can stand
is the diluted and slightly bitter variety.

Claire Juno, © 2013