It’s a red metal water bottle, with three stickers on it. Two are from my favorite breweries, and the other I bought in Patagonia. I stole it from my dad the summer after college. It’s not hard to miss.
It’s just a water bottle. But not. There have been many water bottles in my life, and with each one, I harbored a rather unhealthy attachment to them. Klean Kanteens, Britas, you name it. I’ve had any and every kind of water bottle known to man. I’d be a great spokesperson for Hydro Flask.
I’m not sure why, but the desire to have my water bottle with me at all times progressed into a conscious, emotional need. This probably started around the age of fifteen. It was something to fidget with during my countless awkward experiences in high school. When I went to college, I would sleep with my water bottle tucked in between the nook of my lofted bed and the discolored wall of my dorm room. I couldn’t sleep without it. Also smart for when you wake up hung over (you’re welcome). My room-mate thought it was strange any time I asked her to hand it to me from below, but tell me you don’t like cold, fresh, filtered water when you wake up parched at three a.m. I’m waiting.
It was obvious for me to carry one around all the time during high school and college, because I was constantly going to practices and trainings. Made sense. Things just got a little weird when I’d want to take my bottle out to parties, or even pubs, when I was traveling abroad.And when I graduated, the hysteria of being within five feet (but two feet is ideal) of my bottle became a norm. I am that loser who tries to sneak a water bottle filled with water into Coachella.
I’d rather drink from my own water bottle than the questionable tap water at a restaurant … but I feel like anyone would choose that option. If we’re talking free sparkling water, that’s a different story. It is a bitch to lug this jug of water around New York City when I’m commuting all over the goddamn place. I hate myself for doing it, but I just can’t concentrate on what kind of avocado toast I want when I don’t feel the absurd weight of my bottle inside my bag. I’d even go as far as saying I’ve developed back problems from carrying this shit around all the time.
I’ve thought about whether this is some subconscious manifestation of a desire to have a child to carry around all the time. And I can tell you, it’s definitely not. I love kids, but I love them because I don’t have any. Considering the way I handle my water bottle, I would be a monster if I thought any kid should be taken care of this way. I drop my water bottle constantly — the red paint has given way to it’s silver interior. I’ve set it down in so many dirty, nasty places, carelessly, because we all know that what matters is what’s on the inside. My current water bottle has seen me do so many degrading, humiliating things; things that I wouldn’t even let my own dog see. My water bottle is definitely not a fake baby.
So when I lost it last weekend — at some shitty hookah bar on Long Island — I reacted the way that any mother would and screeched like a bat before washing down my anxiety medication with some wine. And despite what my girlfriend insists, I did not suggest calling the cops.
I typically do not lose things. But when I do, they are of colossal proportions. I have lost: diamond ear rings from an ex (sorry); a Clipper card with $80 on it; and my passport. My ability to hold onto things 98% of the time is something I’m so proud of, I would put it down as one of my skills on my resume. But I digress. As much as I like to think I want to be perfect, I am not, and will misplace stuff.
Losing something, especially something that you really didn’t want to lose, is probably one of the most infuriating experiences, ever. Maybe more than stubbing your toe, or missing the train by two seconds. There’s nothing you can do, except search the entire confines of your room, the garage, and in the gym that you definitely haven’t been to in weeks — but hey there’s still a negative five chance your missing item could be there, just check the lost and found! In other words, it sucks. And I hate feeling incompetent.
When I lost my red metal water bottle, it felt like Barack Obama was leaving office all over again. There was absolutely nothing I could do to stop this event, as it had happened, was going to happen, and did happen. What more can you do than lay in bed and blankly stare at the speck on your ceiling (that may or may not be a spider, you really have to keep your eye on it), and think about your loss. How the POOR choices you made and your irresponsible behavior resulted in the situation you are currently in. You have no one to blame but yourself, and you shame yourself more by admitting that every time your mom tells you that, she was totally, totally right. I would flagellate myself if I could. It is an absolutely devastating feeling.
Fast forward to the next morning. Lo and behold, I found my water bottle in my friend’s car the next morning. On our way to get bagels. If I were to ever have a victory bagel, that would have been it.