On commuter mugs and how to quit smoking.

One small yet significant cultural difference between Slovenia and Canada is the presence of the commuter mug, often referred to as the travel mug. I prefer the term "commuter mug" because it contains more syllables and when I use words like that they make me appear intelligent and worldly (which I am).

Anyway, in Canada, if you were to take public transit, peek into cars stuck in traffic (I do it all the time) or note what your co-workers carry with them you will notice that a large segment has a commuter mug. Either clutched in a hand or buried in a backpack's exterior pocket, these vacuum-sealed wonders are common sights among workers and students. Furthermore, there are many cafes that offer the "to-go" option, giving customers a disposable cardboard mug or, if you bring your own commuter mug, the folks behind the counter will fill it up for you.

Now, in Slovenia, I hardly see anyone with one. There's the occasional sighting, but they're rare. Also, to my knowledge, I only know of two places that offer "take-away" coffee. There may be more, and I encourage folks to let me know, but so far that's two compared to Vancouver's bajillion. I heard a Starbucks did open in Ljubljana, but was shut down after a month. And why not? Why buy overpriced novelty coffees when you can get a tastier and affordable coffee already?

I should probably state at this point that I'm not complaining about the absence of commuter mugs or Starbucks. In fact, it's incredibly refreshing.

So what does this all entail? I can't speak for Slovenia, but I can say that Canada, particularly in large urban areas, tend to favour a commuter-friendly environment. That, and carrying around a massive coffee in portable form does have a performative function. I mean, one could say the commuter mug says to others: "I don't have time to drink my coffee / tea / hot chocolate / human blood at home since I have to go somewhere very important."

In other news, I've decided to quit smoking. The reasons are kind of obvious, so I won't bother you with them. Starting today I'm not smoking, but holy cats am I ever paying for my decision. I have this chill that seems to have nestled deep in my chest, and despite my efforts to smother it with warmth it continues to desperately cling to my bones. At the moment I have two heaters cranked up and I'm wearing a couple of layers and that seems to keep the little ice demon at bay.


Lisa said...

Good luck! I'm so proud of you, even though I know you are having a bad evening of it. You'll feel much better soon!

Btw, this post made me laugh out loud. I love the performative aspect of the commuter cup. You are so ready for grad school. :D

Jay said...

You're very sweet, and I'm already feeling a little bit better. I need sleep, though.

Ready for grad school, huh? I've had some profs who would disagree with you . . . but what do they know? You are kind to so say, anyway.

Iva said...

As for travel mugs: I have two, actually! :) One I bought in Van, and the other one - this is amusing - we got as the mayor's new year's present for the press. It's not exactly the best quality, but hey, it's a mental leap forward. :)
And as for smoking: I support & believe in you! It might be easier now when smoking has been outlawed from the bars. Or another option: drink more with me :DDDD

Jay said...

Iva: It's funny that that of the two travel you mugs you own, one is from Vancouver! You need to use them everyday, that way everyone will want one.

Iva said...

yeah i can be the eco-trend-setter - my new mission! :D

Ana said...

I am joining the travel-mug-owners club (bought it in NY). But I found out that every time I use it in public, I get strange looks ... so lets all use them frequently and make some changes in our society :) (then, we can make some serious moeny with proper takeway in Ljubljana) Ps: Jay, I hope you are still keeping cigys away - that is great!