The day is seared into my memory on scale of a youthful euphoric Christmas morning. It was such a momentous and life changing event that l still remember exactly where I was when it happened. It was ten years ago, I was serving as a medic in 3rd Ranger Battalion. I saw an open box in the back corner of the supply room, an angelic light seemingly beaming from within. “Go ahead, Doc, help yourself.” The supply Sergeant said to me, obviously seeing my excitement over the new shipment.
Adorn with a trim fitting blue top and a certain curve that caught the eye, it was apparent from the first embrace that this one was different. A few friends were already experienced with this one and claimed an amazing indestructible quality. If you know me, then you know that such a statement doesn’t register in my mind as a warranty, rather a personal challenge. I had it, it was mine… my first Nalgene bottle. I couldn’t wait to cover it with stickers in support of my favorite bands and to post pictures of us together on social media.
Over the years we had so many great adventures together. For years we never left each others side. We made so many lasting memories, in good times and in bad. We endured the whole “BPA” scandal and pressed on. I didn’t heed the recall warnings, we had gone through too much together to worry about cancer now, not to mention, there was no way I was going to be able to replace all those stickers!
Like pretty much every one of my relationships, this one could not transcend the test of time. It’s not that I didn’t love that bottle, it’s just, well she began to sag a bit. The constant sweating had left the once beautiful taunt stickers wrinkled, and frankly, haggard looking. I began to think to myself about how much ice I had been putting into the relationship and only ever got back condensation. It weighed on me. I’m not proud of it, but I started drinking around. I would go to seedy convent stores and buy disposable bottles behind Nalgene’s back. I know, I know, it’s a filthy industry, but I was always safe, I always recycled.
It isn’t that I don’t still appreciate Nalgene, it’s just, well, it’s just I’ve found someone new. Someone who contributes more to the relationship than just being a void container of empty promises and lukewarm intentions. If I am being completely honest I have to say that the slim figure of my new bottle was immediately appealing. Unlike the frumpy waist line on Nalgene, the sleek sexy metallic essence of that Hydro Flask just made me want to grab ahold and press immediately to my lips.
After just a short time together I have noticed a plethora of attractive attributes beneath the beautiful exterior. While rock climbing last week, my parched tongue cried desperately for hydration. At first I hesitated. I had just applied the PERFECT amount of chalk. If I grab ahold now it’s over. That’s what I thought anyway. But no…no true love doesn’t judge how filthy or chalky you are, and Hydro Flask doesn’t make you feel bad by sweating all over your perfect chalk job.
I started thinking back to the three years I competed in the CrossFit Games Regionals and how much effort we CrossFitters take to keep ourselves covered in gratuitous triple coatings of the coveted white substance. Eleven years of CrossFit with my ex and I was never able to take a cold drink mid workout without jeopardizing my elite level of fitness. It could have been me up there, the fittest man alive, instead of Rich Froning. Alas, it must have been my hand moisture that kept me from such prestige and glory.
Seeing her grace under fire is something to hold in awe. It was a hundred and seventeen degrees outside in Phoenix the other day and I left her in the car. I know, I know, how could I do that to a loved one? I was just running in to REI really quick. I didn’t mean to be in there so long. Well, you’ve been there, I’m sure. You can not possibly just walk in and out of that place! Three hours later I emerged confident that I had just added more to my annual dividend than the GDP of a small country. Opening the door of my 2000 Dodge Van released a heat wave analogous to that of opening the oven to check on your muffins. Eyebrows singed from the heat blast, my face turned to terror thinking of her roasting insides and the ice I had left inside. There was no judgement of my terrible decision-making. Just a loyal bottle sitting, still full of ice, waiting for me to return. My ride or die, my Hydro Flask.
Look, there will always be a place in my heart for Nalgene, she’s a great bottle, we’ve just grown apart. To be honest, it’s for the best.