Saturday, October 15, 2011

Half-Empty Glasses

My mother tells me that as long as she can remember, I never left an empty cup of anything. While no cups were runnething over, our house was littered with my unfinished mugs of tea, cans of soda, cups of water. (Of course, I never left a crumb on any breakfast, lunch, or dinner plate, but that is another issue altogether.) When my mother asked if I were done and ready to load the cup in the dishwasher, I usually declined, insisting I had at least one more sip to go. But by that point, the tea would be cold, soda warm, water lukewarm. My mother, of course, knew every time I said I wasn't done that I was indeed finished, I just didn't know it. A power struggle over spittley soda was not a battle she apparently wanted to wage.

My husband, who is not my mother, is a drink-drainer. Since he did not birth me, he has limited interest in whether prematurely loading my glass in the dishwasher will emotionally wound me. He sees a briefly idle steaming hot mug of coffee, filled to the top and recently poured and that baby is gone. Dumped, rinsed, and loaded. 

My inability to finish liquid forms of sustenance amped up a notch in the 1980s, when corporations started bottling and charging for water. This was also around the time when the "eight glasses of water a day" mantra was being pushed by the--I am guessing--bottled water industry. I already was neurotic about refreshment, and now we are going to add money into the mix? I remember I spent $45 on a leather harness with a shoulder strap so I could lug around bottled water and never have a parched moment again. While this seemed like a cutting-edge idea at the time, I quickly found that re-filling and reusing a bottle of water had its drawbacks. First of all, lipstick/gloss/balm residue quickly accumulates on the sipping apparatus of a water bottle, certainly negating any health benefits of imbibing the water. And, second of all, ugh. Just ugh all around. The water was heavy, drippy, plasticky, refilled from unsanitary sources, and, I cannot stress enough how icky the aforementioned lipstick/gloss/balm residue issue was. Just ugh, ugh, ugh. The $45 harness was cute though. But a little awkward in shape to try to repurpose. I wonder whatever happened to that harness...

Given my squeamishness with drink closure, and my overall cheapness, you can perhaps imagine what life is like for me now that I am living surrounded by travel mugs, sports drinks, screw-top sangria bottles, and quarts of open-but-only-used-a-tablespoon of chicken stock. I feel like I should take all the containers, line them up, and put on one of those musical shows where people play Xylophone-like music on the tops of drinking glasses.

My car is filled with half-drunk bottles of water, mostly leftover from my children's sports events. The cute eight-ounce bottles of water, sold for 17 cents a piece at Trader Joe's (and with an additional five cent fee tacked on each mini bottle) do not quite sustain my kids for an entire soccer match. However, the 23.6 bottles with the "sports top" prove time and time again to be just too damned much water. But since I am a sucker for a "sports top" for a "sports event," I buy the latter bottles, even though every time there is more than half left, even on the hottest days. Ideally, I would have my children share a bottle, but flashbacks to the grime of my lip grease on the bottle spout haunt me and I just can't knowingly traumatize my kids. So, instead, my kids will someday have nightmares about the half-empty Poland Springs bottles rolling around in the SUV, springing leaks when they are stepped on, and boiling in the Los Angeles heat. Like my mother before me, I, too, pick my battles.

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