Sitting on my desk is a well-used plastic cup from Mile High Stadium, one of two souvenirs I have from the last AFC Championship game the Broncos played in and the only NFL game I have ever attended. It gets filled with water and drained several times a day and has considerably outlived the single serving of Coke it was originally sold to contain.
The human body can survive weeks without food but only a couple of days without water. Perhaps even worse (if the pain is anywhere near how it’s been described), if you don’t drink enough water, you get kidney stones. Clearly, water is important stuff.
Benefits of clear, pure water notwithstanding, humans have been flavoring it for pretty much as long as there have been humans. Tea is the most popular beverage in the world. We measure time from the birth of one who turned water into wine. Coca-cola is among the best-known English words to non-English speakers. I wonder if part of what has enabled us to evolve into human beings as we are today is our flavoring of water, which in the process treated it and made it safer to drink. Certainly cooking our food was a factor in our evolution—why would treating our water not also be?
Those of us who live in industrialized nations hardly have to worry about safe drinking water. Boiling it into tea is something we do because we want to drink the tea, not because we need to make the water safe. Yet when I think of Fall Moab, I also think of the cold Diet Coke after the last ride on Sunday. When I think of Saturday’s tour with Alex, I think of the hot lemon honey tea he shared from his thermos while we put our skins on. The cold water I drank on both occasions doesn’t come to mind. What is it about human nature that causes such strong associations between a context and the beverage we enjoyed therein?
Although we can’t live without water, most of us don’t want to drink nothing but water, either. But if you could only choose water and one other beverage, what would your one other be? Why? If your belief system constrains your choices, would your unconstrained choice be something different?