I’m trying out tea time. Ideally I’d like to have it at four o’clock every day, so I can be like “Four o’clock! Tea time!” saying that out loud in a ridiculous British accent, but really ridiculous, like if a British person were in the room with me when I said it, they’d be like, “I do say, you really are a bloody idiot,” but I wouldn’t let any Englishmen get me down, I’d continue, say something like, “Nonsense, I insist,” and I’d point them to my kitchen where, and again, this is the ideal situation, four o’clock, “ding-dong!” I’d get a miniature grandfather clock and put it in the corner, miniature enough that I wouldn’t have to make a standalone space just for the clock, I could put it on a shelf, somewhere inconspicuous enough that if you walked in the room, maybe you’d notice it right away, maybe you wouldn’t, that would be the idea, but as soon as the clock strikes four, you’d know. You’d know what time it is. Tea time.
Hurry up then! I’d snap my fingers in the air. Again, four o’clock, definitely on Saturdays, definitely when I’m not at work and my friends aren’t at work, I’ll invite everybody over, tell them to show up at, “three forty-five on the dot!” in, again, in that crazy accent, and maybe they’d get it, my more astute friends, they’d think to themselves, “Blimey, that Rob, that devil, is he planning a tea time?” and they’d get into it, they’d start thinking their own thoughts in that same quasi-British accent, and they’d throw around words like chums, and mates, and flat, all together, in a really English way, they’d think thoughts like, “Fancy Rob hosting a tea time for his chums and his mates at his flat?” and would that even be a question or just a statement? I always imagine all British sentences ending in a question mark, even if it’s not a question, with one exception: an exclamation point reserved exclusively for times when one is simply shocked by another’s callous behavior, to the point where they can’t hold it in anymore, they just have to shout out, “My word! I never! I do say!”
Maybe it’s a Tuesday. Maybe I actually have to work that Saturday. When we can’t demand perfection, sometimes we’ll have to settle for second best, a six o’clock tea time, seven, eight, (but never later than eight.) Still, I’ll be standing there in the foyer, really just a kitchen, but I’ll call it a foyer for tea time, and I’ll raise my hand in the air, snap, and I’ll present trays of cucumber sandwiches, toasted English muffins, which I’ll call crumpets and scones, and my friends will be so impressed by the cucumber sandwiches that they’ll then look at the English muffins and think to themselves, “Huh. I never knew British people called English muffins crumpets and scones. I thought that was something else entirely. But then again, look at how authentic those cucumber sandwiches look. Rob’s got to know what he’s doing here.”
The earl grey tea will be served piping hot. The cucumber sandwiches will be devoured so quickly that the bread won’t have time to get soggy from the lemon juice. I’ll be dressed semi-casually: jeans, but a proper tuxedo shirt, kind of a throwback to the whole proper English thing. I’ll be playing classical music in the background. We’ll all sit around the drawing room (again, just my living room, but repurposed for tea time) legs crossed over the long way, the hard way, the English way, and we’ll be nibbling on scones and sipping on tea and laughing at this and that.
I do say! You simply must come over for tea! Four o’clock, (see above) at my flat! Bring your mates! Cheerio!