Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Coffee or Tea, Anyone?

It’s been a rough week.

The weather has been hot and humid, not a good combination for those with living with Multiple Sclerosis. I’ve kept a low profile, trying to beat the heat. Pain is not something one usually associates with MS, and I admit most of my pain is arthritic in nature, but the combo this week has laid me low.

So, I’ve read a few books, and watched a lot of television. And I’ve noticed a continuing theme with these fictional characters. Coffee and tea.

I love crime shows and am particularly fond of NCIS. Gibbs is the grey haired leader of a team of federal agents. He is frequently seen holding a cup of coffee, or sending someone out for coffee. As I’ve watched many of these shows in syndication I can remember the ongoing joke about Gibbs drinking his coffee black, and his disgust at the other team members’ choice of fancy lattes.

It’s an ongoing theme, and gives the viewer a sense of familiarity with this taciturn character.

I also read the latest in JD Robb’s ‘In Death’ series. These are a favourite and I’ve read and reread them all. Eve Dallas is a cop in the year 2058. In the first book, “Naked in Death’, Eve meets her future husband, the billionaire, Roarke.

He tries to win her over, not with diamonds and gems, but with coffee. In the future, coffee made from real coffee beans, is a luxury of the rich. Eve is a typical cop, addicted to coffee, but has only tasted the soy based imitation, never the real thing until she meets Roarke.

There is another ongoing theme in this book series. It seems food is, for the most part, man made. The real thing is too expensive or just not available. Eve and her team of cops sometimes meet in her home office where Roarke provides the nourishment. One young cop tasted real bacon for the first time and asked, “Is this real meat, like from a pig?”

In the off shoot to NCIS you have NCIS Los Angeles. They aren’t big coffee drinkers on the West Coast, seems tea is their beverage of choice. Hetty is a tea connassoir, determined to teach her agents the way to brew the perfect cup of tea, from tea leaves, of course. She scoffs at Callen, with his dip-the-tea-bag-in-hot-water method of making tea. “Can’t you taste the paper?” she asks.

On the show The Mentalist, Patrick Jane is a consultant to the CBI, the California Bureau of Investigation. He is constantly seen with a cup of tea, (see, it is a West Coast thing), and often asks if he can make a cup of tea while the police are interviewing witnesses or suspects. And of course, while making that tea, he snoops around and finds important information needed to solve the crime.

I have another favourite series, the Maggie O’Dell books by Alex Kava. Maggie is a profiler with the FBI. She drinks neither coffee nor tea, but is addicted, in the same fashion as coffee drinkers are addicted to their brew, to Diet Pepsi.

It’s an ongoing theme again, where others keep a supply, or get one for her instead of the usual hot, caffeinated beverages more frequently supplied.

I like these ongoing themes. They offer insight into the characters, give the characters an opportunity for more personal interaction, and often, add a touch of humour in a story line that is serious and deadly.

Personal touches can make a character more memorable, after all, look what the martini, shaken not stirred, did for James Bond.
Have a good week everyone.

No comments: