Witness One Woman's Descent Into Madness as Her Coworkers Steal and Replenish Her Kombucha Tea

Earlier this week, Gawker received a series of emails forwarded from an employee of a well-known New York media nonprofit. For the woman who wrote them, they are a record of the Universe's single-minded objective to deprive her of her kombucha. For the people who read them, they are a six-month documentation of one woman's descent into madness.

(For the uninitiated: kombucha is a funky bacteria-and-yeast tea that tastes like vinegar and has no proven health benefits. Like many horrible things, it is somewhat expensive. Many kombuchasseurs ferment their own tea at home.)

The first email was sent in May. For the most part, it successfully straddles the line between "funny-mad" and "NO SERIOUSLY, I'M REALLY MAD." The only notable misstep is the use of "liberated" as a euphemism for "stole," which suggests that the victim here is the captive kombucha, rather than the tea-less woman.

Sent: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 3:53 PM
Subject: Kombucha Synergy Trilogy (non-alcoholic) -MISSING from 9th floor fridge

Whoever liberated my Synergy Kombucha drink from the 9th floor fridge sometime today in the past 5 hours – I certainly hope that you plan to replace it.
Just because my sharpie wouldn't write on the wet glass bottle doesn't make it fair game.

I hope that you do NOT achieve the re-energizing that you sought. And that the bottle exploded on you and your clothes as you opened it.

When second email rolls around in June, it becomes obvious that that bit about the kombucha being "non-alcoholic" in email #1 is a lie. This lady must be drunk.

Gone are the flattering depictions of the kombucha liberators as brave freedom fighters. Now, they are thieves or, worse than that, perhaps the interns of thieves. By this point, the woman has also surmised that the repeated kombucha thefts constitute class warfare. (A second theft of kombucha is referenced in passing but, oddly does not appear to have generated its own email. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, no big deal.)

"Did you assume it was upper management's and therefore fair game to just TAKE IT?" she wonders.

Little did the bandits know that this lady has friends (who think she is impulsive and reckless) in high places. "You ought to know that I have been dubbed the person most likely to kick someone's ass, by a member of senior management who shall remain anonymous."

And, while you can't put a price on elegance or honor, you can put a price on kombucha drinks ("not inexpensive items, as you must know"). That price is $15, payable in cash or blood by high noon.

Sent: Thursday, July 12, 2012 5:56 PM
Subject: Kombucha # 3 missing from second shelf, door of 9th Fl Fridge, 5:30PM 7/12/12

I really can't believe that I have to write another email on the topic, but here we go:

Dear per diem, intern, or full-time employee who enjoys stealing -STEALING- from one of your colleagues,

I do not go shopping and transport the potentially explode-y Kombuchas here for you. They are for ME to enjoy.
A fizzy lift to my afternoon. So, Trilogy is your favorite flavor? Mine, too! You know, maybe you could BRING YOUR OWN.
They are not inexpensive items, as you must know. And this is now number 3 to go missing. WITH MY NAME ON THE BOTTLE.

You now owe me about $15. Not including delivery.

Wow. Out of the 9th floor fridge. Did you assume it was upper management's and therefore fair game to just TAKE IT? Is there any justification for just taking and consuming what you did not purchase?
Where did you grow up?

Whoever you are, I certainly hope that you are overrun with probiotics to the extent that you get thrush-mouth from having binged on my Kombucha(s.)

Also, you ought to know that I have been dubbed the person most likely to kick someone's ass, by a member of senior management who shall remain anonymous.

This is the last time, however. And my new favorite flavor is Maqui Berry Mint. I'll not be so careless as to leave one of those for you to steal.

Then, in August, an unexpected gift. A fermented old kombucha waiting at her desk. Delirious with emotion, she invents an ad hoc religion; it is a gift of the Kombucha Fairy, a well-heeled pixie who visits the offices of upper management all over the world, leaving small gifts laden with bacteria. "Happy summer and good health to you, Kombucha-Fairy," she exclaims, although it is already August.

Sent: Wednesday, August 08, 2012 2:32 PM
Subject: Kombucha - Thank you!

Say,

I don't know who has done this, but it really just made my day!
Thank you for this fresh Super Green Kombucha, cold and delicious, (also pro-biotically delightful), just left on my desk.

Happy summer and good health to you, Kombucha-Fairy.

Then, almost two months go by without a peep. The vulgar lower classes leave the management elite to slurp their $5 teas in private. The Kombucha Fairy has retired to the underworld to pass the winter with her lover, Hades. The fields are slowly drifting off to sleep. Or are they dying?

Suddenly, an embarrassment of riches. The Kombucha Fairy never forsakes the devout. The woman returns to her office one day to discover a cornucopia of "cool yeasties," "pet scoby" and other nonsensical phrases quietly fermenting on her desk. "BOOOOOOOOOOCH," she exclaims, in CAPS: a prayer, a promise, a thanks.

Sent: Thu Oct 04 11:27:03 2012
Subject: Thank you, Kombucha Fairy

To the generous, thoughtful, resourceful, and shockingly fabulous colleague of mine:

Can you imagine my overwhelming glee upon arriving this morning to find my new pet scoby (the microbes that make the rejuvenating kombucha tea), a half-gallon of some tea that will be ready next week, and a kombucha recipe!? However did you transport this?! Thank you for sharing!

Now I can *make my own.* Cool yeasties and microbes!

I have such warmth and joy to share all around this fine [redacted New York media nonprofit] community! Thank you thank you thank you! We are not only brilliant, dedicated, witty, fun, and compassionate, but some among us are MAKERS. And you're helping me to become a maker of my own dang Kombucha tea. Well, I'll be!

Thanks for making this crazy-in-the-coconut-water health-nut's day a whole lot brighter! (and fizzier, and more delicious.)

BOOOOOOOOOOCH. (rhymes with smooch. And if it weren't actionable, I would totally give you a big smooch for your squee-making potion.)

A couple minutes later, a sycophant jumps in to speak for all of us.
That's awesome, [redacted]! Thank you for letting us share in your joy."

Sent: Thursday, October 04, 2012 11:39 AM
Subject: RE: Thank you, Kombucha Fairy

That's awesome, [redacted]! Thank you for letting us share in your joy. I also like Kombucha, and even more, learning how to make stuff. We should get a group of likeminded Kombucha lovers together for lunch in the Café one day and request that the Kombucha Fairy teach us all how to make it…A Kombucha workshop! :)

Now, with a new convert, the cycle may begin again.