Friday, July 25, 2008

It's a Hard Knock Life, Kid

I have never been a big fan of bottled water.  I am too cheap and too concerned about waste to feel good about buying something that comes free and clear into my home with the twist of a knob.  There are occasions when I swallow my reservations and buy a few bottles (which are later recycled, never fear) but I refuse on principle to allow bottled water to become part of my daily life. 
Instead, we own several sport bottles.  A red wide-mouthed bottle that I received as a gift from a vendor sits on my desk at work.  I have a frosted plastic Rubbermaid bottle with a flip top for games, hikes, trips to the park, etc.  The kids each have blue bottles with pull-up squirt tops.  I can't use those because I've never mastered the art of squirting liquid into my mouth.  I cough and gag and well, it's embarrassing.  There are also two reserve bottles that sit in the cupboard until one of the other bottles go missing for a day or two, which is to say that they never sit in the cupboard.  All in all, it's not difficult for the children to take a drink of water with them wherever they go.  Nonetheless, Jacob is constantly on my case to buy him disposable bottles of water.  An icy cold bottle of Aquafina is to him what a plastic cup of beer is to a frat boy. 
I took Jake to the baseball game the other night.  I was worried that unsealed bottles would have to be emptied*  and finding an hygienic water fountain at the ballpark can be an adventure, so I broke down and bought a couple of bottles on the way into the stadium.  Jacob downed his entire 24oz bottle by the bottom of the second.  I suppose I should be glad that he didn't pull out a bong to drink it.  He immediately started edging toward my water.  I gave him The Look.  He snatched his hand back and whined, "I'm soooo thirsty.  I don't need a soda or even a lemonade.  Can't I please just have some water?"  The trio of young women in front of us wheeled around and glared at me.  I glared back.  I know that they were thinking that even prisoners are entitled to water, but they weren't privy to the whole story.  Somehow, Jake managed to muddle through without anything further to drink.  Somehow, I managed to muddle through the multiple bathroom visits since Jake's bladder only seems to hold about 3 ounces.
I still had half my bottle left when we got home.  I filled it again from the tap and stuck it in the freezer.  Then I told Jake that he could take it on his field trip Friday.  The poor kid couldn't decide whether he hit the jackpot with two!! bottles of water in one week or whether I was the cruelest mother on earth for making him wait a day and a half to drink it.


Chris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Katie Alender said...

(In case you're wondering who "Chris" is, it's a person in my household who left my computer user logged in to his Blogger account! I hit "post comment" and I was like, "What? That Chris person said the same thing I did!")

Here's the comment, posted by its actual author:

I read an amusing editorial somewhere about how we've come to believe we need water with us every second of the day. Even ten years ago, people didn't think, "What if I get thirsty while I'm driving to work?"

That's so funny about Jake at the game.

Christy said...

Who is this Chris person and why does she sound so much like Katie? Anyway, Katie/Chris, that's a rich comment. So much to think about!

First, I wonder how this ties into commuting and telecommuting. I do believe that commutes are getting longer, which would sort of explain at least a portion of why people think they need a bottle of water in the car. Same with telecommuting. If we can and do work everywhere, then doesn't it make sense that we bring the comforts of home and office with us?

I think that the perceived need for water in disposable bottles is the hyperbolic effect of a particular type of gluttony. CS Lewis addressed a similar topic in The Screwtape Letters. (Forgive me if I'm a little off - I read the book 20 years ago) A character would refuse lavish food and instead request just a bit of plain toast with butter. She was putting on an air of virtue, but by forgoing the cake that was in front of her and demanding something made to her particular tastes, but the truth is that she was inconveniencing other people for the sake of her own comfort or at least for the sake of appearing to be more virtuous.

It's the same with the water, I think. Instead of taking what is easily available from the water fountain or just enduring some minor discomfort for five or ten minutes, we cater to our own thirst. And even more - we demand that our thirst be slaked in an easily portable, disposable bottle so we need not be bothered with any inconvenience at all. We might "only" be asking for bread and water, but when we demand artisinal bread with a particular kind of crust and brand name water chilled to perfection, it is pure gluttony.

Mary Witzl said...

I absolutely agree with you and find the whole business of bottled water so weird. So much time and trouble has been spent purifying water that comes directly to our homes, but no, that is not enough; we must have it portable as well as potable. We're a weird bunch, too: we pay for the privilege of being duped. That said, I sometimes buy the bottled stuff when I am desperately thirsty and away from home. But yes, it's just silly -- and expensive. And I'm sure some of those companies are simply filling bottles from the tap anyway!

Christy said...

They are filling the bottles from public water supplies, Mary! At least some of them are. And you are right - we are absolutely willing to believe that it's better bottled.

Katie Alender said...

I own that book but have yet to read it... I'll get around to it soon.

We do keep small bottles with our earthquake supplies, but lately we've started drinking them all the time--mostly out of convenience, and getting a fresh bottle is necessary because you're not supposed to refill them. But I'll usually use the same one for a day or two anyway. I need to buy a nice stainless steel bottle.

The other day, we were going to lunch, and I wondered if I should just bring my bottle of water with me, but then decided against it... only to discover, when we got there, that the restaurant had signs on the tables saying that they were conserving water by only serving it on request. So our bottles would have been welcome, I'm sure.

We have a filter on our tap, but I have to admit... sometimes bottled water just tastes better somehow. Ah well.