Okay, see, I don’t really have a single favorite mug. After ten years in theater, my only “favorite” requirement for a mug is that “it’s the one that is currently holding my coffee give it here NOW”.
But I do have three with some interesting backstories –
- In the early 2000’s I worked on a play that had a bit of a rough go of things. The reviews were less than stellar, there was a temporary threat that we’d have our pay withheld, and there were personality conflicts. When I had rough shows, I’d try to make my own fun. There was one scene that was a triptych of three separate situations happening simultaneously, with the action jumping back and forth between them – a seduction scene, a woman interviewing her abusive mother on her deathbed, and a talk radio host reluctantly interviewing a woman whose hobby was making stuffed toy zebras and ponies. The director referred to it as “the triptych scene,” but I won the cast over by continuously referring to the scene as “Sex, Death, and Zebras”.
Another thing I did to cheer up was to adopt some of the dishware we’d used during a breakfast scene elsewhere in the play. The woman purchasing our props was a matronly volunteer who was really pleased with her choices, and made a point of showing them to me when she got them – a square plate in a rust color, “which I got because it was so different, you know!” and a mug with a cheerful little house painted on the side, alongside two trees that reminded me of cypresses. I nodded, knowing full well that when the play folded that the director would offer the props to whoever wanted them, and deciding that I was going to claim them before anyone else did. The plate broke a long time ago, but I still have the mug.
- In 2000 I drove cross-country, staying in Moab, Utah at one point on the trip. I got up early the next morning, planning on an early breakfast at a local coffee shop followed by a bit of exploring Arches National Park. A little cafe named Eklecticafe was a couple blocks from the hotel, so I ventured there.
I think there was a jug band on the porch when I got there, and I lingered a moment listening. And then I got inside and found big comfy chairs, fresh-baked pastries, a wall full of ceramic work for sale, and a tip jar jokingly labelled “Julie’s Therapy Fund”. The barista warmly greeted everyone who stopped in, chatting extensively with all of the locals, and my muffin and latte were really fresh; and the ceramics were all locally-designed and beautifully decorated with patterns inspired by the petroglyphs on some of the rock faces near Moab. When I ultimately went to purchase one, the barista praised my choice, noting that “mugs with some heft to them are the best, you know?”
I ended up getting to Arches park about two hours later than I planned.
- For about 16 years I had a tuxedo cat named Zach, and for a while people would buy me tuxedo-cat themed things. This mug came from a roommate, and was one of the last tuxedo-cat gifts I got before Zach died at the distinguished age of 18. I don’t use this much – it’s huge, so it’s more suited to lattes or mugs of soup than the morning brew – but every so often, I get to missing the little putz and I dig it out.