May 18, 2010

A Watery Path

I was raised on Coca-Cola. Straight or on the rocks. Peanuts or sans peanuts. It was THE drink. Why would you want water when you could have a refreshing Coke that fizzed up your nose and made you say "ahhhhhh" with satisfaction? I can still remember putting fifteen cents in the machine, opening the door to a rush of cool air, and hearing the clinking sound of the glass bottle as it left the slot. Then, of course, the pop of the metal cap on the built-in bottle-opener. It was the South, it was hot, and Coke was heaven. I have to say, unashamed, that I miss those sounds, even though I haven't been a Coke drinker in over a decade.

I quit a long time ago, first to go to Diet Coke, because like all young women, I was dieting. In the bars, I'd have my bourbon with Diet Coke, because as my friend Anne used to say, bourbon and Diet Coke is a Southern woman's best friend: it has Coke, bourbon, and almost none of those nasty calories! Anyway, I later quit all coke (in my area of the country the generic name for all soft drinks was "coke" just like it's "pop" in some areas) because it was supposed to be bad for me in various ways.

I still hated water. I found it boring. Only in the last year did I take my water needs seriously. I drink about 80 ounces a day. I carry around a big plastic bottle with me and make sure to drink it all, plus more. While I used to get the water out of the tap, I started filtering with a Britta tank once my doctor told me I was registering high levels of clorine. I like water now, but I spend a lot of time preparing it and making sure I get it. I'm proud of how far I've come on the water thing . . . or I was, anyway.

At my studio, we offer a bottle of water to each client after the massage, with a choice of cold or room temperature. In this case, it's part of the corporate plan, but still a great thing, right? Water, not Coke or sugary sports drinks. Well, no, apparently not. We've had several clients decline, one very angrily, on the grounds that all these water bottles are going into landfills and destroying the environment. The angry client declared she was going to write a letter to my boss and complain (That's good manners, lady. I give you a nice massage, and you bite my head off about something I have absolutely no control over and which has nothing to do with the bodywork and which was MEANT to be a pleasant service to you.)

Let me add at this point that sometimes I just want to put my head down and cry. There is never enough money or time, my feet and shoulder hurt, I need health insurance and care, I'm depressed about everything from the price of fresh vegetables to oil spilling into the Gulf . . . and then I manage to get a handle on one thing (water) which is now all wrong because of the packaging. GOOD GRIEF! I find it ironic that the path between Scylla and Charybdis (the real names for the devil and the deep blue sea) was a watery one.

Sigh. Okay. So no plastic bottles. I reuse my own plastic one, but it drives my boyfriend crazy as he's certain it's breeding bacteria in addition to everything else. I guess I could get a metal one and try to remember to fill it three times a day, as I doubt I'll find one as big as my plastic one. As to the studio, we're letting corporate know that here in Seattle at least, offering plastic bottles of water is not always popular or appreciated. Our only thought is to go to paper cups, as we obviously can't send clients home with ceramic mugs. Of course, paper kills trees. I think perhaps a large oak bucket with a dipper outside the door might be an option, but I doubt most people would find that sanitary. It's too bad, though. Cold water out of a metal dipper tastes as good as Coke out of glass bottle on a hot day. And if you can't please everyone anyway . . .

5 comments:

susancyoung said...

I love the image of clients using the metal dipper from the bucket! Yes, it's very hard to please everyone and someone is always further along their environmental education than we are. It's nicer to be educated kindly though, huh? My old massage therapist would have a carafe of chilled water and a small glass for me when the massage was done. She would ask me to drink a glass of water before coming out of the room. It was such a nice ritual. In your context, perhaps this could be done in the lobby area so that you could prepare the room for the next client in a timely manner. Someone would then need to be in charge of washing the clients' glasses. Just a thought.

Carol said...

Reused plastic bottles may leach toxins into water. Here's an article with more info: http://www.thenewhomemaker.com/plastic-bottle-safety

Carol

Lynna Dunn said...

That IS a good idea, if we could keep up with it. And we do have a dishwasher we could load each day.

Linda Gutowski, SPT said...

I too am a southern massage therapist. As I leave this comment, I'm sipping my first Diet Coke of the morning (my replacement for coffee). Honestly, if it weren't for the bubbles, I wouldn't drink this nasty stuff. So how did you get off of "cokes?" I'm trying fruit juice with seltzer water and juice with plain water. So now I drink those also. Maybe it is the heat down here and my soda addiction will disappear once we relocate to New York.

Lynna Dunn said...

Honestly, Linda, breaking the coke habit never made me an angel :-) First there was diet coke, replaced by coffee. Whenever I quit coffee, my sweet tea consumption goes up. I do like putting unsweetened cranberry or cherry concentrate in a pitcher of water and adding stevia . . . you can do that with lemon juice too.

The best thing, I've found, is to drink as much water as possbile, because then you have less room for the other stuff . . . I know, I know, it's not perfect :-) But at least it's better than it used to be. It probably helped that coke changed packaging so much. Cans are doable, but I hate plastic, and there's still nothing like glass.

Ohhhh. There IS a good coffee substitute called Techino. I love it, but I also love cream and sugar, so in the end, it's not as much help as one might think!