Tap water and I have always had a pretty strong relationship. Perhaps this was foolish, as I grew up in the Toms River area where, during the mid-90s, more and more children started developing the cancer, something quickly linked to the water supply. This gave birth to the term “cancer clusters,” referring to the parts of town where cancer-inducing chemicals had leeched into the water supply (not to be confused with Clusters of Cancer, the worst selling cereal of all time).
Yet all throughout high school, even as my Bio class got extra credit for going to speak at the hearings about the water supply, I continued to drink tap water. Perhaps subconsciously I assumed that if the water hadn’t already killed me, it might imbue me with some form of superpowered toxin fighting powers, a sort of Adamantium esophagus that could handle even the dirtiest the Jersey water supply had to offer.
Until I left for college, I was unaware that many people considered tap water a foul liquid unworthy of crossing their lips. To them, drinking from the tap was the equivalent of asking the entire homeless population of DC to piss into their open mouths, chased by a big swig from the storm drain under Larry Craig’s K Street condo.
This is how I learned about this phenomenon known as the Brita filter. If you didn’t have this product in your fridge, your guests would stop looking for other amenities because they had made the conclusion you also ate dinner with sharp sticks and did your bathroom business in an empty dresser drawer. This is probably why I had such trouble making friends at GW, and why my closet always had a bad stink to it.
The Brita seems to make a lot more sense than bottled water, however, considering the multiple reports (and the growing opposition movement) that have come out over the past year or so saying bottled water is little more than glorified, expensive tap water.
I was always tempted to buy one of those Nalgene bottles, though I was never a fan of the plastic that gave the water all the lovely taste of 10-year-old Play-Doh. I also didn’t want to buy 13 Grateful Dead stickers to put on the bottle. Plus, there’s the news that Nalgene bottles leech BPA chemicals into the water. More cancer.
So finally, I broke down last weekend and bought a Sigg metal water bottle that has the sleekness of an Apple product yet the authority of a piece of World War I artillery. The metal doesn’t affect the taste of the water and keeps it cold, not to mention this thing looks like it could knock a few teeth out in a fight with some bottled water pansy. It calls itself “indestructible.”
Then I put the bottle in the freezer the other night and it cracked right open. Oops, not quite indestructible, I suppose. I took it back to the store and got another one.
I went home to Jersey a few years ago to find that my parents had installed a small water cooler on a kitchen counter, like the kind that serves as a gathering spot to talk about last night’s Dancing With the Stars in your office. We just couldn’t take the water here any more, my Mom said, pointing to the same faucet she had fed us from for years.
For me, I’m still happy filling this new water bottle from the tap. Until they discover in a few years that the metal in Sigg gives you nine types of cancer and two forms of whooping cough, that is.