Water Logged


Water used to be a logical and easy beverage option until choices and news’ updates saturated the market. Hydration has become harrowing and it’s challenging my frugality, responsibility, and sanity. What happened to the good old days when the only water decision was “with or without cubes”?


First, free became trendy, but only if it was bottled and $3.50 a pop at movie theaters and amusement parks. Water drained family vacation funds faster than tacky souvenirs. Even restaurants jumped on the bandwagon with that manipulative “Sparkling, bottled, or tap?” mantra. Insecure patrons everywhere coughed up the cash to avoid the waiter’s familiar tap water cringe, guaranteed to make you feel either cheap or dirty. Sometimes saving a few bucks just isn’t worth it.


And nature’s beverage is no longer simple. Given the options (purified, spring, seltzer, enhanced, enhanced with vitamins, enhanced with supplements, enhanced with natural flavors) and the biochemical controversy of the bottle, one needs a GPS and Dr Oz to get through the beverage section unscathed. And can you still call it “water” when it has more ingredients than Hamburger Helper? Still, the “you get what you pay for” pressure gave millions of us a new version of water aerobics--hauling hefty cases out of the wholesale clubs, and more than a few chiropractors an opportunity to cash in on the musculoskeletal repercussions.


Flooded with mixed messages, consumers are told to conserve water by reusing hotel towels and then encouraged to buy it for $7 at the minibar. And somewhere along the line, we’ve come to believe that traveling without the beverage is a health hazard. Maybe in the Mojave, but last time I checked, there hadn’t been a single dehydration death due to water bottle omission in Pittsburgh or Poughkeepsie.


Now, just when the “bottle is better” mentality has peaked, we are told bottles are bad. They’re even banned in some eco-conscious settings where a large carbon footprint is more stigmatizing than a large foot fungus. Suddenly, cringing waiters are searching for a proper container to carry their tap water. I haven’t found mine yet, but I’m told I must use this vessel whenever I travel, except in some countries where I am advised to drink only...bottled water.  Help me! I’m drowning in H-2-Ohhhh.