We became biologically human about 300,000 years ago. For all that time until about 10,000 years ago, our ancestors drank milk as infants, then only water for the rest of their lives. Historians and anthropologists speculate that honey wine became the first non-water beverage our ancestors drank, possibly predating cultivating plants.
By my childhood, the market provided plenty of beverages—including milk varieties, wines, beers, other alcohols, fruit juices, and sodas. We still considered bottled water a weird, expensive European affectation.
Normally my talking about bottled water leads to my talking about the unnecessary pollution. Today I want to treat two things subtly different—people’s reactions to suggesting not drinking bottled water and the varieties of bottled water. Besides the fraction of a percent who live in the U.S. without access to safe, clean water, nobody needs bottled water. For that matter, people don’t need varieties. Yes, you can taste the difference but it’s water. When you’re thirsty enough any water will satisfy you. If you aren’t that thirsty, you don’t have a problem.
Varieties of water—brands, vitamins added, origins, etc—speak of the opposite of necessity. I’m not sure the word, but decadence comes to mind. That people insist on bottled water when and where they want suggests entitlement.
Imperial Romans supposedly had slaves peel grapes for them. Even if they didn’t, they likely showed off their wealth other ways that probably felt luxurious to them but seem decadent, entitled, and indulgent today.
Bottled water sections of stores seem to me our peeled grapes—decadent, entitled, and indulgent. It wouldn’t matter except that it pollutes and leads people to sound like addicts when deprived of access to that indulgence.
Here is the painting The Romans and their Decadence that preceded their downfall, prompting to ask: Are we Rome?
Read my weekly newsletter
On initiative, leadership, the environment, and burpees