It’s a joke about thrift — saying someone’s so cheap they reuse their tea bags. That they brew two, or more, cups from the amount intended for a single cup.
And I’ll be the first to admit it: I can be stingy. I have an aversion to buying new things for myself and always have to justify it somehow. Back in the day, any time I’d spend money that wasn’t strictly necessary (we’re talking rent and bills and that’s it), I’d feel a weak sensation in my body — very reminiscent of how I feel when they take blood from me and I make the mistake of watching.
Retail therapy isn’t something I intuitively grok. I pretty much always feel a little guilty spending money.
I’ve been this way for a very long time. And a lot of it I can attribute to the experience of being poor. Any time financial breathing room happens, I don’t trust it to last.
Because of this tendency, I have a lot of strange quirks. But I would be okay with using a fresh tea bag each time. The extravagance of that doesn’t really hit me in the same way as some others. But I don’t. I literally use the same tea bag for two, usually three, cups of tea. Just like in the joke.
And there’s a reason for that: I love that second cup of tea. Brewed from the same bag. The weak one. It’s different from the first cup. And it’s different from the third. And that contrast itself is interesting to me. I seek it — over and over. I’d rather drink three different cups of tea than three fresh ones.
Things change when you revisit them — and I think that’s beautiful.
Similarly, I love old conversations. Rehashing memories with someone else who was there with me.
Some people I’ve loved haven’t gotten this about me. “Why are you still talking about that?”
“Haven’t you gotten over it?’
When it has nothing to do with anger. Nothing to do with resentment. Or a lack of forgiveness.
And instead I love that feeling of savoring something that I’ve lived. Living in the past for a few moments more.