The Tea Box

I got a box of Chinese Tieguanyin tea; a gorgeous wooden box lined with fine fabric and a hand written inscription on its top, on the inside the finest orange silk surrounds and protects the delicate pouches of fragrant tea.

I thought about an old craftsman putting together the box, paying attention to the last detail, carefully arranging the silk and placing the pouches inside, after smelling each of them. Finally, using his camel hairbrush writing the inscription on the outside to complete a unique and masterful piece. To him, it was not about the tea or the box or the inscription, but about the pride on perfection and tradition handed down to him through generations of his ancestors.

I went home and sat at my desk to inspect with fascination the box. A moment later I sensed that something was not quiet right. I removed the orange textile from the inside and realized that what appeared to be the finest silk was only some synthetic fiber. Once removed from the box, it became evident that the box was not made out of wood but cardboard. The handwriting on the cover turned out to be an inkjet print.

The old man came back to mind; then the image of a big space full of machines and women in blue overalls and a line of thousan boxes and a ton of tea leafs and punching cards and minimum wage salaries and grease and bolts.

All this complex collection of gears and workers are not in the business of producing boxes of fine tea, but are engaged in the art of illusion, trying to conjure the soul of the old man through a mechanized spell.

They will never succeed in this futile endeavor; it was their black magic and motives what killed him a long time ago.