the water bottle neurosis

On Sunday night, my husband and I stopped by the grocery store to pick up some supplies. I can always be counted on to get sidetracked during these errands, and this night was no exception. 

I walked by a display of Hydroflask water bottles and thought, I want one. Two of my co-workers have them, and they tell me how it keeps water cold for almost 24 hours. They drink so much more water because this bottle keeps it nice and cool and fresh. I like drinking cool water. The 32 oz. bottle would save me from walking up and down the stairs to refill my silly little mug. Sold! So I picked one up and walked over to locate my husband, who had since moved on to the chips aisle.

He saw me walking towards him with the water bottle. “I want this,” I said. 

“Really?” he said. 

“Yeah,” I said.

“How much is it?” he said.

“$36,” I said. I knew where this was going.

“Hmmm. That seems like a lot for a water bottle,” he murmured.

“Oh,” I said. “Okay, I just won’t get it.” I put back the bottle and kept walking. 

After we paid for our groceries, my husband looked at me and asked, “You’re bummed because you didn’t get that water bottle, huh?”

“Not really,” I said. “I’m bummed because I let you convince me that I didn’t want the water bottle.”

That should have been a red flag right there. But my sweet husband wanted to understand me, so he asked, “What do you mean?”

Before either of us knew it, I was launching into a whole monologue about not having a firm grasp of my own desires, not being able to verbalize my needs, and being too easily swayed by the opinions of others. I was talking about everything from my wardrobe to my childhood, and the fact that 90% of the movies we watch are not movies I would pick. Because I’m not sure I know what movies I even want to watch, because I am so out of touch. Angst, angst, angst.

He pulled up to a red light and I took a breath. As the left-turn signal click-clicked on our dash, my husband said, “Wow. You got all that from a water bottle?”

I laughed inwardly. I imagine that this just about sums up what it’s like to be married to me: the rest of the world sees a water bottle, I see a catalyst for internalization and self-psychoanalysis. Who needs a shrink when one can simply wander around a Haggens store to sort through one’s emotional clutter?

More importantly, it takes a strong man to hold a woman’s hand while she’s having an existential crisis in the passenger seat of a coupe over a water bottle, listen without interrupting, and survive unfazed.  I might be utterly and profoundly confused about a great many things in my life, but I know without a shadow of a doubt that I married the right guy. He’s the kind of guy who doesn’t freak out when I can’t find the words to say what I really feel, or worse, when I do find the words and launch into a stream of consciousness overload. He’s the kind of guy who is not afraid to let me loose in a grocery store, not knowing (or worse, fully knowing) all the hidden internal revelations and emotional unravelings it might set off in me. Someone should give this guy an award. Maybe a $36 water bottle would do the trick.

So these are my take-aways from my recent trip down crazy lane: sometimes a water bottle is just a water bottle, sometimes it is a neurosis. Be prepared for either situation by marrying your best friend, and then grocery shopping with that best friend whenever possible.

By the way, I never did get that water bottle. It turns out I drink just as much water by walking down to the staff lunch room several times a day to refill my cup. Not to mention I get to walk around and sneak mini-breaks in. Maybe I did know what I wanted after all.

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