I sat down at the keyboard today with my afternoon coffee, and when I brought the mug to my mouth, my tongue felt an odd texture right on the lip of the cup. I pulled the cup away to investigate, thinking there would be a clump of cemented – what? There was nothing that could have cemented to my mug since I used it this morning. I’ve worked with blueberries today, and flour, hummus, and pen and ink. Any of those would leave a clump of mush, not of concrete. What could be caked on my coffee mug?
And then I saw it. Right there. Right at my sipping spot, where my lips wrap around the rim when I hold the mug’s perfect shape in my right hand, and my tongue pushes against green glazed ceramic to ramp warm coffee into my mouth, there is a chip. A jagged, 3mm, sharp-edged, indented oval of white ceramic where there should be smooth pine green glaze.
A Facebook friend suggested I hold the mug in my other hand to drink, and I tried that. I did. But it’s just not the same. The mug goes at the upper left of my keyboard, with the swooping handle facing right. When I need a sip, my right hand automatically goes for the handle’s hand-crafted curve – two fingers wrap around the sweeping green ribbon, two fingers lever under its downward slope, and my thumb rests on top. I bring the cup to my lips, and – my tongue hits that chip.
Big deal, you say. Use one of the other gorgeous, hand glazed mugs in your cupboard. Or that graceful white porcelain one. But the white one is too delicate – I can’t hold it by its body without burning myself. The blue one’s belly is too cavernous – my coffee gets cold. The dragonfly is too rough. The striped one is too small. The white marshmallowy one is great for hot cocoa, but I don’t know. It’s a lazy, your-work-is-done, lie around and sip a hot drink with Baileys kind of mug.
My green mug, though – the one my husband bought from a potter in Sarasota to replace a different earthenware mug I had dropped – it is perfect in every way. I can hold it by its body or its handle, depending on whether I want to warm my hands. Its vessel is a straight column – no pot bellies that let heat escape – of just the right height and diameter to hold the contents of my French press plus two tablespoons of cream and keep it warm for the amount of time it takes me to drink its volume. I can grab the mug’s wide ribbon handle with my whole hand, holding it tight in my right fist while my left hand cups the body for warmth, or I can grasp it more gently, minimizing contact with the heat as I do when I lift it from its place by my keyboard.
Sigh. It’s going to take me a while to find the mug to replace this one. A mug that is beautiful, and the right size and shape, that fits my hand and my aesthetic, and inspires me when I write both in the morning and the afternoon. Until I find that perfect one, I think I’m feeling this one from Lenny Mud:
As Rebecca Schinsky wrote in her Book Riot roundup of the best coffee mugs for book lovers, “This mug will hold your morning coffee and your afternoon whiskey.”
Or your afternoon coffee plus whiskey, which is the combination I need on this sad day. RIP, perfect green mug.