The end of civilization as we knew it

Well, that really takes the biscuit. The University Library tea room has stopped using china cup and saucers like a civilized place, and started using disposable paper cups.

Ye gods, what is the world coming to?

Once upon a time, when the world was a bit younger, there was a comfortable tea room in the basement, with proper wooden furniture, and proper tea, and proper home-made cakes (made, it seemed, by proper grannies). There you could while away the time, and meet friends, and talk philosophy, or plot the revolution, or flirt, or all three, as the occasion demanded.

But then the tea room was moved and it all went plastic. And the coffee-flavoured beverage became vile, and the cakes beneath description. Now even the Earl Grey has to be drunk out of horrible paper cups. What was a place of some homely comfort — a happy escape from the Borgesian infinity of bookstacks above — now has all the bleak charm of an airport waiting room in one of RyanAir’s more unlovely small destinations. No doubt it saves pennies. But it means you just no longer want to pop over to the Library for tea — and so those chance meetings, those happenstance conversations, those quick browsings, that leaven the academic grind and spark new ideas, won’t happen.

Heck, I’m coming over all Roger Scruton.

4 thoughts on “The end of civilization as we knew it”

  1. Wonderful! Read it with nods and sighs.. And can’t help but remember one of my personal favorites:

    “In 1953 I realised that the straight line leads to the downfall of mankind.” -Friedrich Hundertwasser

    (Out-of-context but still relevant in my view…)

  2. I share your disaste. I try to remember to bring my own mug, but, as often, the high-minded ideals are undermined by lack of organisation. Interesting how tea really suffers from the paper cup treatment, coffee not so much.

    My first job out of school was clearing tables and washing cups etc in a cafe. Based on what I was paid, paper cups can’t save that much!

    On the other hand, I’ve never been much enamoured of the occasionally bleachy taste of mugs in greasy spoon caffs.

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