Tonight it was hot. Jenny was on our $23 pleather couch, relatively miserable. “I want water, but I just want it to be here. I don’t want to move.”
I looked up from my feed reader and gave a non-committal, “yeah…” I know she’s talking about high-end sparkling water — we do buy bottled water in general (ours comes out with a brownish tinge and a funky taste), but the water we crave is San Pellegrino.
“Do you want to go to Wild Oats with me?”
“Sure, just let me look at these last six feeds,” I replied. Sometimes I think she uses me for my air-conditioned Hyundai Accent with a cassette player and AM/FM radio. Her Hyundai Accent is not air conditioned, and doesn’t play music at all ever since someone tried to steal her stereo last month. Suspicion passes, and I remind myself that we’re sisters, and there’s a good chance our relationship is deeper than that. Either way, I think I’ll probably try to keep in touch with her when she moves to Philadelphia for graduate school in the fall.
I turn my attention to the blog feeds, and click the space bar (I like the keyboard commands) to move to the next one. I laugh. The very next feed has this picture:
It’s part two in a mini-blog-series about people who are concerned about the environmental impact of consuming foreign bottled water. I can’t say I disagree with their concerns. But I have yet to find anything foreign or domestic that comes close to tasting like this heavenly potion. Gerolsteiner doesn’t have much flavor to it and makes me think of soft, pillowy things — not what I want in a water. Crystal Geyser makes me feel trashy for some reason… Maybe because it reminds me of Crystal Light? Perrier (plain, not flavored) is kind of funky — if you drop a plastic bottle of it (from, say, two feet off the ground), it explodes. And the bubbles really are too big. The Whole Foods brand is okay, and the Wild Oats brand comes in leaky bottles and is maybe a little too fizzy. Pellegrino is just a supreme example of excellent bottled water (I say this realizing they are owned by Nestle — it’s still true). I know it’s bad for the environment to drink this stuff, brought to me from the source in San Pellegrino Terme.
I think that, like soccer, mineral water is something the Europeans just do better. Here it’s a bit of a novelty — you ask for it at a bar, and they either give you soda water (typically this is the case) or they charge you more than you would pay for a shot of Chopin (specifically, this happens at Dazzle). You sip a 1-liter bottle in your car and get some weirdo asking if you’re drinking champagne. In your car. At 9 a.m. In Europe, you have to specify that you want water “sin gas” (still), and I often found myself accidentally buying liters of sparkling water when I was traveling. In fact, I think that’s how this whole thing started — little mistakes, repeated in different languages and eventually accepted as a preference.
Back to the story, we went to Wild Oats. We bought our water. I also bought cranberry juice to mix with Sprite for a refreshing drink (Barrett’s trick). Jenny suggested we try mixing the cranberry with Pellegrino for a change, but quickly rescinded. “I guess we’d be wasting the water if we did that,” she said.
“Yeah, kind of like using a really nice tequila in your margarita — what’s the point?”
We came home and drank it straight. I feel moderately guilty. And more than moderately refreshed.