Zia Hassan

The Water Bottle Stories

One weird quirk about me that is that I’ve always been sort of opposed to drinking water over other beverages. The times in my life where I have developed a water habit have only happened for health reasons, not because I had suddenly developed a taste for it.

At restaurants, glasses of water always looked unappealing to me. Due to the transparent nature of the water, I could see all the dust, leftover grime, dishwasher streaks, and floaters.

Then one year, someone gifted me a tall glass water bottle with an aqua blue silicone sleeve. It had a big white cap that twisted on and made a really satisfying but quiet noise when it had fully screwed on.

After that, I was a water addict for a while. I felt so cool, so futuristic, like I was drinking out of a capsule on a spaceship.

It was the first time I noticed other people’s water bottles. I worked in a school so I saw a variety of them. Big, small, wide mouth, tall, colorful, plain, textured, smooth…

It occurred to me that with every sip, everyone with a water bottle was telling themselves a story. Water is so blank, so plain, that we dress it up with style using our own container. We do the same thing with coffee and smoothies sometimes but not as creatively as with water.

I still recall seeing a regular glass of water in the cup holder of my friend’s car, and it struck me as odd. I asked why he didn’t have a bottle to contain the water and he shrugged and said it didn’t really matter.

He was right, of course – because that’s the story he was telling himself. That, for him, water doesn’t need clothes.

There’s no better reminds that we all see the world through our own eyes, and that storytelling is ingrained in most of our decisions whether we realize it or not.