Thursday, September 24, 2009

water, water everywhere.....

As I left the supermarket on an unseasonably hot afternoon in Bend, Oregon, I spied this motley collection of water and soft drink vending machines. I was suddenly reminded of an old episode of Rod Serling's Twilight Zone, where a shy and reluctant Nevada casino visitor is magically spoken to by a brightly-colored one-armed bandit, which first implores, and then demands the guest to feed more and more shiny coins into its hungry slot. The mousy man, seduced by its voice to pull the handle, slowly transforms into a compulsive lunatic and proceeds to lose his life savings.
After having just resisted purchasing a lot of useless, non-nutritional crap in the market, I was hardly tempted by these allegedly thirst-quenching charlatans to give them even one thin dime, even though they had succeeded in reminding me that I could possibly want a drink of something. By clicking and enlarging this photo, you can read the text on the bottles on the face of the machine and try to decipher what is being sold. Much has been written about the bottled water controversy and is best described in Elizabeth Royte's Bottlemania: Big Business, Local Springs and the Battle over America's Drinking Water. It is a complicated issue. In any case, rather than becoming dizzy and faint on the spot from the stress of temptation, I jumped in my car, drove home and turned on the tap. I have to admit that it is convenient to carry water, and have bought it in the past by the box. Yet I felt my municipal home-brew left a good taste in my mouth and quenched something greater in me than thirst.

13 comments:

tapirgal said...

That's poetry. You've outdone yourself.

Small City Scenes said...

Are we just becoming a nation of sheep? Do this, follow that----I sure hope not. Be bold--Be yourself!!! MB

Oh My gosh--my word verification was/is copycon---fitting eh? MB

Sylvia K said...

OMG! You've said it all! And, oh how I agree with you. I'm an old broad who remembers that drinking water from the tap did not result in any illness, major or otherwise. What is happening to us???? Great post, Lee! Thanks!

Sylvia

Unseen Rajasthan said...

Great post Lee !! Lovely too..Unseen Rajasthan

B SQUARED said...

It's only $.50, It's a buck and a quarter in machines I've seen.

Elizabeth Royte said...

Stopping and thinking - how novel! Thank you for resisting the lure of single-serve containerized beverages. Bottled water may seem like a small thing, but it's indicative of our troubling culture of convenience. Thanks for the shout-out for my book -- drinking water is indeed a complicated subject. Here's a link if anyone wants to learn more:
www.bottlemania.net

tapirgal said...

@ Elizabeth. It's a small world sometimes! This is Sheryl at the Tapir Preservation Fund. You contacted me when your book, "The Tapir's Morning Bath" came out. I read it while Lee (Bend Daily Photo) and I were in Panama. Althoug we didn't get to Barro Colorado for various reasons, it was so interesting to be reading the book near the location, and it's a wonderfully informative and engaging read. The tapir incident was interesting, although I realized of course that the book is not about tapirs, but the tapir incident was so perfectly metaphoric for points you made in the book. I think scientists might call it an "elegant" choice :) All the best on whatever you're doing now.

Jacob said...

Excellent commentary as usual...I just finished reading about study done by somebody that compared bottled and tap water and found that most tap water in this country is far superior (in terms of little bugs and stuff) than bottled water!

In Florida, the politicos have for years allowed the people who pay them off to steal water from our underground aquifers and bottle it and sell it!

Pisses me off! Things are coming to a head, though, because some communities are running dry!

Stay tuned.

Re: The flag you wrote so eloquently about on Ocala DP. I'm with you all the way and wanted to say much more, but decided that was unnecessary...

Raksha said...

Lee: What tapirgal said (first post).

Elizabeth: You'll be happy to know that somebody gave me a single-serving bottle of water about three months ago. I've been refilling from the tap ever since and keeping it in the fridge for whenever I want some cold water. Last night after I read Lee's post I decided it was time to wash out the bottle...so I did! I'll check out your website.

cieldequimper said...

That's a great shot. Doesn't your tap water taste of chlorine on some days? Mine does... Hence, bottled spring or mineral water.

tapirgal said...

We have pretty good tasting tapir water here, but some communities don't. But I did buy a pitcher with charcoal filters in it, and it tastes great. Cheaper than bottled, all other issues aside.

cieldequimper said...

@Tapirgal: I tried that. The chlorine taste doesn't completely go away unfortunately. When I drink water I don't want to feel like I am at the swimming-pool!

Crafty Green Poet said...

I have very rarely bought bottled water but would sometimes find myself buying a bottle before boarding a train for a long journey - better bottled water than dehydration. Now though I have bought a reusable bottle that i can carry everywhere with me.