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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Getting off the bottle

I'm not sure exactly how it happened. One day, the tap in the kitchen was working just fine. The next, there was a case of bottled water in my garage. It was like some marketing genius sneaked into our house before we got the Middle Finger to the Bad Guys alarm system and whispered into our ears, "You really should be drinking water out of bottles."

Actually, I know exactly how it happened. One day I didn't stop our dog from drinking out of my Shakespeare's cup and the next day the dog thought she could drink out of any glass she wanted. The next day, my wife was buying bottled water by the case.

"Scoop eats her own feces," was the wife's argument and it was one I couldn't readily debate. Frankly, debating makes me tired. I'd rather have sex.

So began to slow parade of Aquafina, Dasani, and Fruit2O marketing wizardry from the local Publix to my garage to my fridge. The kitchen tap was relegated to soaking pots and pans and filling up the flower watering can.

Over time I began to notice bottles of water around the house. They would be 3/4 consumed and serving little to no purpose. Our recycle bin--already full of my Diet Coke and beer cans--was no overflowing with clear plastic bottles. One day I noticed my wife grabbing the nearly empty bottles and using the backwash to water her flowers. That just about did it for me.

I started drinking from the tap again.

And why not? I live in a pristine area of the country where water flows down out of the Blue Ridge Mountains and into local lakes and reservoirs, most of which are clean enough to bathe a newborn baby. The water, if I may say so my damned self, tastes fantastic and in most cases as good or better than any bottled water. You've actually seen my water. Remember the movie Deliverance? That's my water. Once we got rid of the anal-raping rednecks, there wasn't much to worry about.

There are other places that aren't as lucky. Warrensburg, Missouri likely has the worst water I ever tasted. Las Vegas ain't much better. Still, a cheap charcoal filter on the tap in those places will make the water halfway decent, just like it will anywhere else.

I didn't say much to my wife about her bottle water fetish. I didn't have to listen to her scream at the dog and there were fewer spills at the hands of the Toddler Monster in the house. What's more, my parents had become bottled water drinkers and far be it for me to deny them water when they came to the house.

Before I go on, let me make one thing clear. I love Mama Earth, but I'm not an environmentalist turned Global Warming freak turned Eco-Terrorist. I don't litter, I recycle whatever I can, and I don't go outside and spray aerosol in the air every morning. Still, I'm far from preachy about it. After all, I drive an SUV, my wife drives an SUV, and my kid wore disposable diapers for the first two and half years of his life. To get all high and mighty about the environment would be a little two-faced. What's more, we are grand wasters of this precious natural resource. During the summer months, our vanity takes over and we water our lawn three or four nights a week. You know, keeping up with the Joneses and all.

Damn, this stuff is wet!

Still, within a couple of weeks, I saw two different reports that moved me to act. First, I saw a report about the amount of oil used to transport the bottled water from Fiji and other locales. That same report went on to talk about the amount of landfill space taken up by the plastic bottles that most people were throwing in the trash. The second report was not necessarily news to me, but it drove home the message. See, Aquafina and Dasani...well, they are tap water, people. You're drinking tap water. Out of a $2 bottle.

So, finally, a few days ago, I geared myself up for the fight with the wife. I put on my athletic cup, grabbed L'il Otis' bike helmet and a large stick from the back yard. I stood in front of her and said, "We have to stop buying bottled water."

I braced myself for the gutshot--an area I'd forgotten to protect. My eyes firmly closed, I waited for just two seconds before it came.

"Okay," she said. It wasn't a resigned "Okay." It was like, "You want me breathe? Okay."

Well, that was easy.

As it turned out, my wife wasn't as much of a fetishist as I thought. She didn't really give a damn about her bottled water. She was buying it out of convenience and, likely, some subliminally inculcated marketing magic.

And so that is how the Otis Clan gave up bottled water. The wife is now drinking out of a cup with a lid the dog can't open and I'm still on the Shake's cup. We will get no medals from Al Gore. We will not wake up to lower gas prices in the morning. We will simply save $20 or so a week and reserve our bottled water drinking for the times we go places that don't have a ready and clean tap.

As long as the dog doesn't start taking a dump in the kitchen sink, I think we're going to survive.

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Blogger golden said...

Can I interest you in a pet rock maybe? How about the compressed air we use at gas stations to fill up our tires that used to be free and now costs 75 cents. Or toll toliets at airports. (I think these have gone away actually.) We can easily be tricked into paying for stuff that should be free or nearly free. Just ask Willie, my pet rock from circa 1974.

9:26 AM  
Blogger Pokerwolf said...

Somehow, I'm not surprised that your son is wearing a "I'd rather be lucky than good" t-shirt".

Great photo, Otis. Thanks for sharing.

11:00 AM  
Anonymous gracie said...

I love that picure!

We went off bottled water ages ago. I've never been preachy about it, but I do silently judge others. ;-)

11:35 AM  
Blogger Falstaff said...

We just got off bottled water in the past couple of weeks (except we still have a water cooler at work because that tap water is FOUL). Getting the new fridge with water in the door was our great motivator. And I think I saw the same article on landfill space.

If I'd known Gracie was judging me, I'da quit a lot sooner.

1:42 PM  

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