I can’t remember the moment when bottled water became a necessity to take on all walks, whether it be a ten-minute stroll to the shops or a power walk around the Bay.
I do recall as a teenager wandering in bushland for hours and I never took water. Though I can still feel my pockets bulging with a packet of smokes and a box of Redheads (or even a matchbook from some night club like Stranded or Island Trader). Taking water on a walk would have been the furthest thing from my mind. In fact nobody took it.
Even at school we drank out of bubblers that only proffered either a warm dribble or a high fountain, teasing us with impossibility! The only bottles students seemed to take in the Seventies were frozen cordial, often spiked with some type of potent alcoholic spirit.
Suddenly at some point, perhaps it was on one particular day, water bottles became ubiquitous. No person would leave home without one or if they did they would purchase a plastic bottle at the first possible opportunity. It was almost like an edict had been handed down by a higher force and people obeyed. Maybe it happened on the same day that Warragamba Dam was at its lowest point, who knows? Before this we had rarely drunk plain water – GI cordial, soft drink, wine and coffee were the order of the day.
At any rate, people just started carrying water and constantly sipping on it as though they were about to die of thirst about 10 minutes after leaving their house. Kalahari Desert people apparently can survive for seven days without water. On the Bay it would appear that many can’t survive seven minutes without water.
Lately the ubiquitous paper coffee cup with the plastic sipping lid has creeped onto the Bay Run. Funnily though, the smokes and matches have never reared their ugly head again! Well, at least not on the puritanical tracks of the Bay.
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