I seem to be developing new neurosis as I get older. I’m sure that is relatively normal, but I wonder how far it could go. A lot of my “crazy” stems from the different food allergies I had growing up. But, what about the other worries? Could food and drink concerns eventually take over my whole life?
Everyone knows that water is one of the three basic needs of survival. Inside my apartment I have multiple sources of water including my bathroom shower, bathroom sink, and kitchen sink. My refrigerator also produces water in the door. If we’re getting technical, I could even count my toilet and washing machine as access to water. Seems like I would be surviving pretty well in here. Yet, I also believe I need to keep water bottles available. What I tell myself, is that the water bottles are for when I go out, but I drink them inside my apartment too. Of course, it is important to have a water bottle when you go out for lots of reasons. Logically, you would carry one to quench your thirst. Bringing a water bottle from home is also more economical because you don’t have to buy one at a convenient store.
I didn’t always carry a water bottle with me while I was out. It’s something I started doing only a few years ago. I had been sick for several days without leaving my apartment. Eventually I had to go outside to see a doctor, and I knew it would be a good idea to take a water bottle with me. When you’re sick, it’s important to stay hydrated. I based my decision off of that. As days turned into weeks and weeks into months, I continued carrying a water bottle with me. Even if you are not sick, it is important to stay hydrated. That seemed logical to me. I also began to think of other important reasons for bringing a water bottle with me wherever I went. What if I had to swallow a pill and needed liquid? I could become very parched from eating something salty and require a few sips of water to avoid choking. What if I started coughing and needed water to stop? I may get stuck in traffic or on a subway train for hours and require some kind of sustenance. What if I’m eating a cracker and it gets stuck in my throat?
For fear of my ultimate death due to dehydration and/or a blocked esophagus, it has become imperative that I now travel with a water bottle. Of course, there have been times I have forgotten to take a water bottle with me when rushing out the door. These times are minimal, nonetheless, it has occurred. Do I panic? No. Not completely. If I’m still at my building, I can go back to get a water bottle. If I’m already on the go, I can stop at the next bodega or drug store I see and pick one up. If I’m not able to purchase a water bottle prior to entering the subway or getting caught in traffic, I’m okay too. That’s because I repeatedly tell myself that I can get water as soon as possible and I tell myself not to think about being thirsty while focusing on swallowing my saliva correctly to avoid a choking hazard. Simple!
If I am caught in a waterless mess, there is not better scenario than to be out, on my way to a restaurant. There is something comforting about knowing that you will soon have access to water and a large assortment of other beverages. Though, I’m afraid life isn’t as worry free as just sipping a drink. There are always complications and it’s important to prepare yourself for the uncertainty of life as best you can.
I have gone out to eat an infinite number of times and I can say confidently that I’ve had more positive beverage experiences than negative. One of the best parts about water in NYC is that the tap is unlimited and it doesn’t have a funky taste. I like when restaurants place an additional bottle of water on the table so that you can serve yourself if necessary. This is a bit tricky though, because if the waitstaff is not prioritizing your water refills, you could be stuck with an empty bottle and some empty glasses for a while. In that case, it is sometimes better when there is someone who continuously checks the table and refills the water glasses as needed. There is more attention focused on the water and the odds of running out are less likely. If you are feeling fancy, you can order bottled water instead of tap, but that is the most difficult to maintain. Since you are paying per bottle, you will most likely have to ask for a second, once the first has been consumed. This method relies more on the diner to be attentive to everyone’s water glasses at the table.
If you are someone who does not concern themselves with the details of water consumption in a restaurant, you might think the above paragraph is mad. If you are like me, I don’t think anyone is like me, you will understand my concerns. Instead of being able to have a carefree meal with family and friends, I am hypervigilant in my efforts to maintain the water supply. The risk of choking while eating is exponentially higher than the risk of choking on one’s own saliva. This means it is extremely important to have immediate access to water at any given time while at the table. Having to monitor the whereabouts of the waitstaff when my water glass has passed the threshold of containing a comfortable sip, is exhausting, but a task that must be done. There are lives at stake. Particularly my own.
*In writing this, I have no intentions to introduce fear and worry into any of your lives. Please take what I have said with a grain of salt, perhaps even a glacier sized block of salt. This is specifically how my neurosis operates and is in no way meant to influence your way of thinking.