Wherever I’ve worked I’ve done my best to inculcate a workplace-wide habit of making tea for others. It’s the most basic way in which you can bond with your workmates, a sort of gift economy. Also, people who don’t drink tea are not to be trusted, and my schemes have the effect of flushing them out.
Making tea for more than two or three people, with work-generic mugs, can be a confusing affair. God knows we all sneeze and cough over each other throughout the day, but there’s a residual cultural ick about the possibility of ending up with someone else’s mug which means that it’s preferable to be certain that mugs are merely returning to their previous owners. So, like any proto-Asperger with a zeal for optimization and multitasking, I always arrange the mugs in alphabetical order of name. It sounds anal, indeed is anal, but it means I can then go off and do something else and not worry about how many chips Brad had out of his mug, or whether Henrietta’s mug had the crack all the way down it that ticks when you get it hot, or whether hers was actually the one with the handle nearly off.
I had my comeuppance this morning, though. With only two of us in the building, I decided that, as long as I could remember which hand Ignacious’ mug was in, and always put them down left to right in the same way, then I could hand it back to him with that hand. But I forgot the turntable in the microwave.
Luckily, his mug was the one with three chips out of the rim. I think.