By Genevieve A. Suzuki
My husband is getting tired of my mug. In fact, he’s getting tired of all of my mugs.
Lest you think I’m a woman of many faces – personalities, yes, but just one face – I’m referring to my ever-growing mug collection stashed in our cupboard.
I discovered Derek’s discontent over lunch at The Hills on La Mesa Boulevard. As we scanned our menus, he leaned in close as though he were telling me a secret.
“What is it?” I whispered. We’ve been married for more than 15 years so it’s always fun to think my husband is flirting with me.
“How many mugs do you really need?” he asked.
“How many… What are you asking me?” I replied, trying to figure out whether “mugs” was code for something sexy.
“Mugs. Your collection of mugs is getting larger every time.” OK, not sexy. Got it.
Sputtering, I tried frantically to remember how many mugs I had amassed. “Psssh, I only have about…oh, maybe 10?”
“Why do you need 10 mugs?” he asked. “You should have three at most: Your travel mug and maybe two mugs for coffee, hot cocoa or tea.”
My sweet, sweet, sweet, simple husband. He just didn’t get it. “Uh, no,” I said. Clearly, I was speaking to a blissfully ignorant house dweller. “We need a lot of different mugs for a lot of different reasons. First, you have your basic coffee mug. And that mug can’t just be any mug. The handle needs to have room for four fingers so you can clutch it close on cold days. Because there are four of us in the house who could use those mugs, we need a few of them.”
“And then we need soup mugs. These mugs are more like bowls with handles and are perfect for soupy days when you don’t feel well and want to clutch it close on days when you have a cold.” (There’s a lot of clutching mugs close in my world.)
I went on relentlessly despite never seeing Derek’s eyes roll so far back into his head. “Don’t forget the tea mugs. These are mugs with something Zen about them. I know there’s something Zen about them because the tea company said they were Zen mugs. And I want Zen, Derek – desperately.”
Derek muttered under his breath about Zen and empty cupboards. I ignored him and plunged on. “Oh, and then we have those cute little glass cider mugs! We need those because someday we will have warm cider with our kids! And of course they’re glass so we can see that cinnamon stick swirling around.”
“Wait… So we’re giving our kids glass mugs of hot liquid?” Derek asked.
Before I could offer my lukewarm explanation, Derek interrupted. “Look, fine, you want to keep your 100 mugs, OK. But now you’re going to use them for much more than that.”
“Well, yeah, duh. I can use them for warm milk, chai…”
“No, you’re going to use them for your meals,” he said. “As in, ‘breakfast,’ ‘lunch,’ ‘dinner,’ and whatever that meal is you eat hiding in the kitchen right before bed.”
“I could do that. Those soupy mugs are good for oatmeal, macaroni ‘n’ cheese…”
“No,” he said. “I’m thinking, ‘mug o’ steak,’ ‘mug o’ cheeseburger,’ ‘mug o’ sushi.’”
Derek went on for a few minutes, listing various non-mug-friendly foods that were going into my precious mugs. Amid that sarcastic soliloquy, I realized mugs are the Little Black Dress of dinnerware – they had a use for a variety of situations and emotions. What may be a Happy Day mug might not be appropriate for a day when I’m seeking comfort, and what may be a Blustery Day mug would not be a mug appropriate for the search for Zen.
Thankfully, our conversation switched to the usual – our kids – and my mugs were safe until the next time Derek peered into the cupboard.