Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The taste of freedom

What is the taste of freedom? In my opinion, the taste of freedom is the taste of coffee poured from your very own thermos. Ahhhh!

Yesterday I was delighted to see that one of my Esteemed Colleagues brought in a thermos-like-device full of coffee for her afternoon tutorial. I think things are really looking up for her. If any of you are feeling down in the mouth, why not try using a thermos for a week or so? I really think it will help.

I've been feeling really positive about thermally insulated beverage containers for quite a while now, as you may know if you're a long-term reader. I wrote about them last year, but in that post I was concerned more with the thermos as a symbol of nerdiness. Since then I have fully embraced my inner nerd so I've been able to travel further down the road of thermos appreciation than before.

I'm sure that many of you are fellow travellers on that road, yet I was still surprised when another of my Esteemed Colleagues complimented me on my thermos last week. We had a short discussion of its qualities and how it lent those qualities to me, its user. Carrying a thermos makes me seem outdoorsy, as if at any moment I might just propose that we all go camping or hiking. It makes me seem prepared for anything. For example, if I were to suddenly need a drink of coffee - well how about that? I have one right here! And the thermos is anti-establishment. It's a voice crying out for the home-made, the scrapbooked, the DIY "I think I'll glue some shells to that and spray it gold!" mentality that is so crushed by the concrete conformity of modern life.

If I had to sum up the qualities of the thermos (and hence its carrier) in one image, it would be the image of the survivalist nut living in a bunker in the woods with ten thousands tins of beans buried under the winter snow. It's tough, independent, wrassles bears and for all I know smokes its own bacon. The taste of the coffee from that thermos is the taste of freedom.

Sadly, on Monday the taste of freedom was sullied by some chunky bits because the milk was off. When I poured the coffee into my Willie Nelson mug (Australian Tour 2000) in class, I noticed that it came out a bit lumpy. It smelled okay so I figured I'd just let it settle down and then drink the thin stuff off the top. That plan worked out okay until I forgot about it ten minutes later and absent-mindedly picked up the mug and drained it all in a gulp.

The sensation of the blobs of congealed milk washing around my mouth was so unpleasant that I had to immediately get up and leave the room. But that's okay. From time to time the Tree of Liberty must be watered with the Vomit of Patriots.

Monday was a bad day in another way too. I woke up to discover that the bedroom door had swung shut so the cat had been trapped in the bedroom all night. This is a cat that is smart enough to wake me up when it wants to crawl into the bed with me. Unfortunately it's not smart enough to wake me up when it really really needs to access the litter tray in the laundry. And apparently the next best option is right on the bed.

The smell of cat pee is not a very nice thing to wake up to. Nevertheless, it's the smell of freedom! Why? Because you spend the rest of the day wondering if you yourself smell like cat pee even though you showered for what seemed like hours. But if you did smell like cat pee, you'd smell a little bit like that survivalist nut with his ten thousand tins of beans. Freedom! Ahhhh!


Anonymous said...


If freedom is the taste of coffee from your very own thermos, then what is the taste of being poured coffee from someone else's thermos? Is that the taste of shared freedom? Is freedom shared, a freedom halved?

PS Can anyone else smell something musky and acrid?

PTR said...

Is freedom shared a freedm halved? Hmm, good question. Maybe I'll add it to my FAQ. Anyway, I think it's clear that there is no mystical loaves and fishes thing going on with my thermos. If I were to provide the masses with a taste of my coffee, they would be very fleeting tastes only. And there would possibly also be a meningococcal outbreak, unless the masses brought their own cups. I'm pretty sure that shared freedom is not a public health risk in the same way that shared coffee is.

Perhaps people can taste the freedom just by watching me pour my coffee, and thinking, "Hey man, that's freedom!"

Perhaps you can taste the freedom just by reading about me pouring my coffee. Can you? Can you taste the freedom right now?

Anonymous said...

Isn't freedom just another word for "nothing left to lose"? If so, then an empty thermos flask, (which has been emptied by sharing) is certainly freedom.

Wow PTR - you're so Zen (...you probably think this song is about you).

PTR said...

I can tell that you're a "thermos half-full" kind of person. I like that about you!

You're quite right about freedom being just another word for nothing left to lose. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that nothing ain't worth nothing, but it's free.

Country music - there's no wisdom in the world not found somewhere in its heartfelt lyrics...