An era comes to an end. After five emotional and turbulent years, the Master Tea Wench bids farewell to Boston Tea Party. It is not a bitter end. It is a fond farewell. A fork in the road where paths must go in opposite directions. “Whenever there is a meeting, a parting is sure to follow. However, that parting need not last forever. Whether a parting be forever or a short time…that is up to you.” A sentiment expressed at the end of The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, one of my favourite video games. One that I feel is fitting here. This is the last time I will be at Boston Tea Party as the Master Tea Wench, but not the last time we meet.
Since the tender age of fifteen (now over a decade past) I have had the good fortune to know exactly what I want to do with my life and the even greater fortune to possess even a modicum of the talent required to achieve it. I am a wordsmith, a tinkerer of phrases, an arcane manipulator of language, understanding its meaning, not necessarily knowing it, and twisting it to my delirious whims.
One might say that everything else in my life is just filler, any job I hold that doesn’t relate to writing being but a mere mote of dust drifting through the glaring beam of the sun. But I wouldn’t say that. The thought might occur, but I’d muse upon for a moment and dismiss it with a practised back hand that recently sent a six-foot-eight barbarian flying across the room (I was, at the time, a pretty powerful demigod, but that’s a story for another blog). I have served at the pleasure of Boston Tea Party for five years now. It wasn’t just filler.
Five years. Five years down a long and winding road. I have been under stress, I have gone through moments of absolute joy. I’ve created the Foreign Coin Wall. I challenged myself to see if I could serve one person from each of the fifty US states in 2015. (At the close of my Boston career, I snagged thirty-five out of fifty. Not bad in seven months I think.) I’ve been an unrelenting geek, had a seven o’clock in the morning discussion about Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics, babbled about my obsession with Battlestar Galactica and my favourite scientist of all, Richard Feynman.
Of all the things that have happened in the five years I’ve been at Boston Tea Party, there’s one story though. One important game-changing story from December 2013, a story that can stand as testament to the fact that my five years at BTP have not just been filler.
Specifically, it’s Friday, 13th December 2013. Thirteen is one of my favourite numbers. I think it’s misunderstood. I adopted it so that someone would love it. So one might expect the thirteenth day of the month, in the thirteenth year of the century, to be a good day for me. Nah. I was in a fine grump that morning. Sleep deprived at least, possibly with a myriad of complicated things on my mind that I barely remember now. It was a dark and dreary winter morn. The usual early risers drifted through our doors, polite conversation exchanged, but there was one girl. A girl I’d never seen before and I’m not sure I’ve seen since. She had cat whiskers drawn on her face and I speculate that she may have been out on the town the night before. She came in, ordered a small coffee. We traded idle small talk, discussed my general temperament at the morning. She expressed solidarity, working in the same industry at a different chain, knowing the rigours of the early start. She went outside and our conversation ceased.
Ten minutes or so later, she returned her tray complete with empty coffee cup to the counter, called out a thank you and departed. It was only after she left and I grabbed for the tray that I saw the piece of paper on it. Torn out of a notebook, a brown sheet of paper that contained the most heart-warming message to a grumpy boy on a cold winter’s morning.
“People awake at this time make the world go round.”
Ever since, that sentiment has been framed and sits proudly on the wall of Boston Tea Party Bath – prouder than our mascot, the framed picture of Sam Malone from Cheers. It sits atop a nail, directly opposite the till.
Where every morning, every dreary winter morning, every pale and sunny summer morning, I can see it. And my heart can be warmed by the words. I may not have been writing, but I woke up at a godsforsaken hour of the day and I made the world go round. More than that, I gained a story to tell. Nothing gives me greater joy in the world than to tell stories. Than to see the looks of intrigue on people’s faces as I weave a narrative, or tell of them of the world I’ve created in my head. Five years was not filler. It was five years filled with a worlds of stories, a worlds of connections made between incredible people, warming hearts, making them smile. Making the world go round.