Waiter, There’s Too Much Water in my Glass

18 12 2007

By Jill Ettinger

I think a lot about water – probably more than I should. (I am a Pisces, after all.) Last night I was having dinner with my brother’s fiancé. We both ordered tea, as it was a chilly, windy December evening in New York.

I arrived a few minutes early and started sipping a steamy cup of jasmine green. Even before that the waitress plopped down two menus and two very full glasses of water on the table. My mind wandered as the waitress left to get me the beverage that I actually ordered, and I thought of the thousands of tables this was happening at right now in Manhattan, and the millions more around the world.

Usually when I’m served water in a restaurant, I drink some, but not all of it, unless I’m really thirsty. Tea is my drink of choice, which is just herbed water, I suppose. I just don’t like to drink much when I’m eating.  Sipping is nice and the warmer, the better.

I’ve noticed that even some of the most unpretentious restaurants have a water guy. (It’s rarely a girl.) You might have taken just two sips from your glass and he will refill it promptly. It frustrates me to embarrassing levels. It even scares me. I feel a duty to the dwindling fresh water on the planet not to waste this precious liquid even though I’m not thirsting for it. Sometimes my hand makes it to the top of the glass in time to prevent the pour. Sometimes it does not. I often offer the water to my friends at the table. I realize I’m way too focused on this. But I’m learning to just accept my intuition or whatever it is that takes over my thoughts in these situations.

Later last night, Gabby and I stopped into Whole Foods Bowery before the journey home. I noticed that Volvic, a well-known spring water from France, is now selling fruit flavor enhanced water. This I thought a lot about too. As losing the bottle came into fashion this year (ala cities like San Francisco banning bottles in government office buildings), water companies need a new angle. Just plain old ordinary water will no longer qualify for many concerned consumers. But if there is the (appeared) added benefit of flavorings (minus sugar or enough fruity stuff to call it “juice”) or even supplements like Vitamin Water, it crosses the line from ‘water’ into ‘enhanced water beverage.’ It’s got value beyond keeping one hydrated. There are curious flavor nuances to ponder and delight over. Much needed minerals, vitamins and super-immune boosting antioxidants in an easy to absorb form. This stuff is futurewater. Oooh.

It was quite quenching to read today’s great post from Joel Makower comparing the bottled water insanity to none other than cigarettes. It’s true though. As the facade of bringing “pure” drinking water to Americans with access to some of the purest municipal drinking water in the world is breaking down, water companies are panicking. They’re doing everything they can to paint a picture of health and eco-friendly sustainability though all plastic bottles are petroleum-based. Nothing short of brilliant, Makower illustrates it here:

“At a recent conference at which I spoke, attendees were given bottles of Ice Mountain Natural Spring Water, with signs promoting its “New Eco-Shape™ Bottle.” Among its green characteristics: it is made with 30 percent less plastic than the ‘average’ bottle of its size. And it features a label that is 30 percent smaller…That’s not all. It is ‘100 percent recyclable’ . . . ‘Easy to carry’ . . . and ‘flexible so it’s easier to crush for recycling.’ It doesn’t take a PhD in marketing to see that these claims are pretty thin. A label that’s 30 percent smaller?!? If that’s the pinnacle of environmental achievements, we should all give up now.”

No wonder I keep losing my thirst.




2 responses

18 12 2007

I think everyone should just forget about bottled water and go by themselves a Nalgene. Nalgenes happen to be refillable! Whoa! And you can refill them right from your tap! Double whoa!

19 12 2007

Even better, drink your own safe Tap Water from a Swellz TapSack and protect yourself from the possibilities of bisphenol – the carcinogen which leaches from plastic bottles, including Nalgene. The Swellz has a medical grade latex interior.


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