Tea Time with Trrracy - Delight or Blight?
Delites Cafe, well-known for its bubble teas, is a student favorite, especially on wintry days. However, with the cut-throat competition between tea-houses on the Street, this has not always been the case. In Philosophocle, well-known for its xenophobic antagonism, Delites’ foreign practice of placing squishy black balls in tea, to be sucked at by brightly-colored fat striped straws, was for a long time viewed with suspicion and distaste.
From the archives of PHSS, December 15, 2015…
TEA TIME WITH TRRRACY EPISODE 27: DELIGHT OR BLIGHT?
TRRRACY1: Welcome to Tea Time with Trrrrr-acy! Every Tuesday and Thursday at Tea Time I bring you to various tea-houses on the Street, where I sample the newest brews and eavesdrop on all the steamiest bits of gossip. Today I am visiting the newest teahouse, Delites! It resides at the far end of the Street, formerly home to the video rental store, before the administration, out of concern for students’ use of leisure time, encouraged it to move a block further down.
PEARL: Hi there! Happy Blizzard! What warm delights would you like on this frozen night?
TRRRACY: While Melli’s Flows next door has shut down due to the blizzard, Delites bravely announces its grand opening. It is, however, devoid of customers except for a pugnacious girl dressed completely in black. She stands in stark contrast to the girl behind the counter, who is dressed in a pink sweater and a panda hat. Their only similarity is their stout build.
PEARL: My name is Pearl.
TRRRACY: What a delicious name, Pearrrl! Oh, what are these strange objects on the counter? This one has a spiky outer husk with a naturally occurring Fibonacci pattern, and a munificent green outgrowth on the top.
PEARL: That’s a pineapple, silly! And that’s a mango, a passion fruit, a winter melon, a starfruit, and a taro. It cost me a fortune to import those into Philosophocle. But I would never use the canned stuff.
TRRRACY: What strange fruit! But exoticism is no substitute for excellence. Will the tea live up to my expectations? Trrrrr-acy is here to find out. Give me your best, Pearl.
PEARL: I recommend the taro milk green tea, with boba. Taro is good for a cold winter’s day.
TRRRACY: With bubbles, you say? Sounds delightful. I am excited to see what you mean by “bubbles.” And while you brew, please do tell us how you came into possession of this delightful tea-house, Pearl.
PEARL: I studied abroad in Taiwan. I was so entranced by their tropical climate and spicy food that I stayed there until my visa expired. When I came back here, I thought, what a cold, joyless world this is! How many souls here have never tasted the sweet delights that I have? I resolved that I would introduce these sweet delights to Philosophocle. And as luck would have it, this shabby little store was up for sale, so I bought it.
TRRRACY: Ah, but how can Philosophocle be joyless with all these tea-houses? No matter, one person’s tea is another’s water… And what about this lonely customer, sitting by herself at a four-person table? Ohmygosh it’s Lisa! I have never met Lisa in person until now - but I have certainly heard many stories about her. Lisa’s reputation precedes her, as I know from the many steamy letters you wonderful listeners have sent in. She has been banned from twenty-two of the thirty accredited teahouses, and been pre-emptively banned from the other eight. I have never encountered her in person. Apparently she has sought refuge in the only teahouse that has not yet banned her.
LISA: Are you <beep> recording this? Because if you are, I got some <beep> things I want to <beep> tell you and your <beep> listeners. You are the <beep>-est <beep> of all the <beep> and you listeners are <beep> for <beep> her <beep>!
TRRRACY: Such malevolent language! Fortunately, my lightning quick reflexes have saved the listener from the more terrible parts of that tirade. Lisa, do tell us how you would rate the tea here.
LISA: This tea is <beep> <beep>! And these <beep> balls taste like <beep> <beep>!
TRRRACY: I can’t understand a word of what you said, Lisa, but from all the words that I had to beep, I assume that you just gave a 1-star review.
LISA: Why can’t you <beep> understand me? You <beep> can’t even <beep> to save your <beep> life!
TRRRACY: I’m perfectly capable of surviving, thank you very much, and I am trained in first aid, CPR, and the Heimlich maneuver. On the other hand, you had better calm your demeanor, lest Pearl throw you out.
PEARL: (giggles) Oh I wouldn’t do that, Lisa is such good company on these lonely nights. She does like my tea, she just has an unusual way expressing her love - but totally adorable -
(Bells jingle as the door opens.)
PEARL: (gasps) Professor Whyse!
PROFESSOR WHYSE: Student Pearl!
PEARL: I am not a student anymore.
PROFESSOR WHYSE: Dropped out, I see. The path of higher learning is not for everyone.
TRRRACY: Listeners, it appears that we have a confrontation between Pearl and her arch-nemesis. How steamy!
PROFESSOR WHYSE: Let that be a lesson to you, student listeners! You may think that your classes are unimportant, unpleasant periods of your life to put behind you, but your grades will always stick with you. It’s why they call it a “permanent record.” (pause) I see that your establishment has “Grade pending”, Student Pearl. Did you think that by dropping out you can escape judgment? I can assure you that if your character has not improved since you were in my class, neither will your grade. Listeners, Student Pearl got a D minus in my class on History of Western Philosophy, and then switched her concentration to Eastern Philosophy. That hogwash is not even philosophy, it’s mysticism!
LISA: Mr. Whyse-guy, if you’re not going to buy <beep> tea you can <beep> get the <beep> outta here! Go pick on your current students and leave Pearl alone!
PROFESSOR WHYSE: But Tracy is my current student - and star pupil, I must add. Like her, I too have an academic interest in teas. Is it not asked, who grades the graders? It is I, Professor Whyse, who grades the graders. Tracy is here to grade the tea, and I am here to grade her.
PEARL: It’s okay, Lisa. Pay them no mind. Here’s your tea, Tracy. That will be four dollars please.
(Silence for four seconds.)
PROFESSOR WHYSE: I see that you still have not done your homework, Student Pearl. Did you think that you could open a tea establishment without reading the Rules and Responsibilities for Tea-houses in Philosophocle? As a senior tea critic, Student Tracy is entitled to to free tea at all the tea-houses in Philosophocle.
PEARL: Oh I’m sorry… Here, I’ll give you another spoonful of boba.
TRRRACY: What is this? The tea is dark purple, an unusual color for tea. Pearl is spooning into my cup what appear to be black balls each about one centimeter in diameter, are these the “bubbles” that she speaks of? What unusual items to put into tea. Is this tea any good? There is only one way to find out…
TRRRACY: (Sucking noises, followed by choking noises, followed by coughing) I declare! These black balls are a choking hazard. Squishy and disgusting, totally unfit for tea!
LISA: Pearl, I told you those things were a choking hazard. For babies.
PEARL: Lisa, please.
TRRRACY: (fists slamming on table) That’s it! You can remove that grade pending sign, Pearl. This teahouse gets a D minus! Taste: I don’t know what this is but it’s not tea. Atmosphere: Filled with unsavory characters. Service: A cheerful façade hides a troublesome past.
PEARL: I can make you tea without the boba, too, if you don’t like it. On the house.
(Sound of chair scraping and falling)
LISA: Don’t stoop to them, Pearl. You don’t need to <beep> their <beep>! Get the <beep> out of here! Yes, you, Tea-Crazy, and you, Wise-guy! You pretentious, stuck-up <beep>, you got no right to <beep>! <beeep>! <beeeeeep>!
TRRRACY: It appears that Lisa has taken the straw out of her drink and is shooting the black balls at me with her plastic straw. One of them just landed on my new fur-trimmed coat. Get away from me, you fiend! (sounds of scuffling) Listeners, I am afraid that I have to cut today’s tea time short. Join me on Thursday at three for another -
LISA: (can be heard in background) - you pickled, tricking, truckin’, sucking -
TRRRACY: Tea Time with Trrrrr-acy!
Trrracy, hailed as a prodigy, is the youngest person ever to assume the role of Senior Tea Critic. She had barely set foot onto Philosophocle campus before she challenged the previous Senior Tea Critic, Tristan, for the coveted position. She emerged victorious in the duel by correctly identifying the brand and origins of 50 different kinds of tea in a blind taste test and composing tea-inspired poems while maintaining perfect posture.↩