An average morning in my household goes something like this:
- The slow creaking of a door punctures blissful sleep
- Harken! to the dread pitter-patter of tiny feet
- Is that a mouse? I hope in vain. The tiny feet are attached to tiny children, and they walk the land.
- Hustle downstairs and make breakfast etc.
‘Breakfast etc.’ involves making myself tea. For a long time I made my tea — my writing, by the way, is sponsored by Clipper Teas: Natural, Fair, & Delicious* — in a regular ol’ electric kettle, one of those top-load top-pour thingies. No fuss. Sometimes I’d pour out way too much water at once, which is the sort of thing that happens with a top-pour kettle even when you’re not in a dozy haze.
*Not really but I am a firm believer that every writer should have a caffeine sponsorship. So if you’re up for it, Clipper, let me know, all right?
Water is sloshy, and sometimes it sloshes right out of that big hole at the top of your kettle, sending boiling liquid flying across your kitchen counter. This is something I figured was just A Thing To Live With. I spent my formative years on dial-up. I am strong. I can handle peril.
But then my kettle broke and I got a new one and I found out that the dread sloshing need not be! Because my new kettle is not a top-pour kettle. Behold! The gooseneck kettle:
At first, I was skeptical. What difference could this thing possibly make? Wouldn’t a spout that small make for slower pours? I need caffeine as soon as possible when I wake up in order to do an even passable impression of ‘parent’, and slowing down my intake even by a microsecond could make or break my day. But as it turns out, gooseneck kettles make up for any slowdown with something far more important: the illusion of control.
2020 has been a bad year for pretty much the whole planet. We’re in the grips of a pandemic and the fallout from that pandemic has made everyday life both disruptive disturbingly fraught. And that’s on top of the slow doom of climate change and the spasms of inequality inflicted by decadent capitalism. What power do we have as individuals against slow-roiling catastrophe?
None. But now I have the power to pour my water without sloshing. Goosenecks draw from the bottom of the kettle, ensuring a stable supply and reducing the danger of a scalding overpour dramatically. The smaller spout means a more focused stream of water, and I find myself drawing little patterns on my tea with it. It’s … dare I say it? Relaxing. I know it’s ridiculous to discover a fleeting moment of zen from my kettle every morning, but hey. It’s a ridiculous world, and my new kettle is doing its very best to help me survive it.