I am picky about my water. This is a realization that was a long time coming. I remember when I was a kid and the tap water would turn brown every spring when the lake would turn over. I would refuse to drink it and my parents would tell me, "Oh, it's fine! Stop being so picky!"
But they changed their tune when the Culligan Man came around. I don't know what that man put in the test tube filled with our tap water, but it turned solid and was full of amoebas, paramecium and other critters I learned about in 7th grade Earth Science whose names I have long since forgotten. It was disturbing and from that day on we had a special little faucet next to our tap just for drinking. It tasted like nothing, and that's how I liked it.
Years later, we moved to a new house. Our skin and pallets had become accustomed to the softened and filtered water. Within a month we all were suffering from dry, itchy skin and nobody wanted to drink water from the tap because it... well... tasted like tap water! Another call to the Culligan Man and our skin returned to it's former self. We were all relieved to slurp up the cool, flavorless liquid that now flowed from yet another special faucet.
My husband grew up in a beautiful house on the shore of Otisco Lake. The family had a pump that sucked all the water needed for showers, toilets, laundry and drinking directly from the lake. Now, it's a lovely lake, and fairly clean but I'm a city girl and, as far as I'm concerned, a lake is just a big toilet for fish. I was assured that the water went through a filter with ultra violet light to clean it, but I just couldn't put the memory of the test tube of solidified tap water out of my head. If all that gross stuff was in the water that went through heavy-duty, government-regulated filtering through a professional water treatment plant what was a little blue light really going to do? I drank some once to be respectful, but never had another glass of water from their house again. It's not them. It's me. When we got married and moved into an apartment in the city the problem was easily solved with a Britta Pitcher in the fridge.
Now, I was aware of my sensitive pallet when it comes to lake water. Clearly, I prefer my own source of Hemlock Lake to Otisco Lake. What I didn't realize until recently was that I am also a bottled water snob. Not a total snob, mind you. My water doesn't need to be French with no bubbles or anything like that. I don't need water with extra electrolytes or vitamins. And I don't care for the artificial fruit flavors on the market either. I like my water to taste like, well, water. No, not well water. Just water. I grabbed a bottle of water from my mother-in-law's fridge the other day and was surprised that it tasted funny to me. "What is going on? Bottled water is water," I thought to myself. Then I read the source label on the bottles. The 'foreign tasting' water was from Concord, New York and bottled in West Seneca, New York near Buffalo. The water I usually drink is bottled at the source from Forestport, New York where, when viewed through Google Earth, is just green.
Apparently I am also raising a couple of young water snobs. A waitress brought us some water before we ordered our dinner the other night. After one sip my four-year-old announced to the waitress that she needed new water because hers "tastes like bath water!" I was mortified and apologised. I drank the water without complaint, but she was right. It tasted like bath water.
So, I guess I am a snob. At least when it comes to water. I can live with that.