Welcome to My Husband Hates Me Because, our series in which we explore all the quirky and charming ways we inadvertently drive our spouses crazy.
I am a thirsty woman, and not in the cool-kid slang way: My mouth is frequently dry and I want water. I am also a woman "on the move," as they say, and this means that I often have a bottle of Poland Spring or whatever in my bag. So what? Since when was proper hydration such a problem? Since I married my husband, apparently.
The story invariably goes like this: I am out and about, doing whatever it is a person does when they leave the house (e.g. wander aimlessly, contemplate the existence of a higher being, stare indecisively at the toppings at Red Mango). Because of that aforementioned thirst, I end up buying a bottle of water—but rarely do I drink the entire thing, because my tiny bladder and considerable thirst are forever in opposition. As I am not a wasteful monster, I don't just toss my half-empty bottle of water when I get home. I put it in the fridge or on the counter, so I will remember take it with me to the gym in the morning or whenever I leave the house next. I see nothing wrong with this.
But to hear my husband tell it, it is very wrong, indeed. See, often I leave home in a hurry and forget to grab the leftover bottle of water to take with me. Oops? Too late now, I'm at the gym and need water so I might as well buy another bottle. Which I probably won't finish, so I'll bring it home with me and save it so that I can use it again when I go to the gym tomorrow. But I might not remember to grab that bottle tomorrow, so then I'll buy another and bring it home... On and on.* The result of my good intentions is a backlog of half-used water bottles that are scattered all over the place. And that makes my husband — a man who is supposed to be my partner, my most trusted ally — very annoyed.
"Uhhhh, are you using this totally empty water bottle you've put in the fridge?" he'll ask. The question is drowning in its own sarcasm, but I refuse to get defensive. It's not his fault that he lacks the foresight and common sense that I have in rich abundance.
"Not at this exact moment, no," I explain, "but I will be using it. Eventually."
"Will you be using the seventeen other empty plastic bottles you've got scattered around the house?" Then he'll throw them all out without another word; he won't even do me the courtesy of rolling his eyes at me to let me know he thinks my little habit is annoying-cute. This is because he does not think it's annoying-cute. He thinks I'm hoarding.
"I encourage reuse," he says, talking to me like I'm a child (I am not a child!). "It's the half-empty plastic water bottles everywhere that's driving me nuts."
Looking around our home right now, yes, I see some abandoned, half-empty water bottles scattered about. One in the fridge, another on my nightstand, a completely empty one on my desk. But these intermittent plastic afterthoughts are harming absolutely nothing. In fact, I'd say these bottles are actually doing good: The longer I hold on to them, the better! Three more days with an empty bottle in my possession is three more days that the recycling facility doesn't have to waste time or energy dealing with my waste. That's how it works, right? I'm sure that's how it works. And seriously, 60 percent of the time, I really DO end up reusing the bottle at least once or twice.
When I tell my husband this, he's quiet for a moment. Then: "That's the dumbest thing you've ever said." I know he's lying because I've said much dumber shit. I say dumber shit all the time.
But the water bottles, the bottles will be the end of us. If he's home long enough, he'll find all my bottles and toss them all. All of them. And then I'm forced to buy another bottle when I go out the next day.
"I'm going to buy you a real water bottle," he vows, dumping the spare bottles in the recycling bin once again. "One you can use over and over again."
"But that's what I'm doing right now, with these bottles!" I protest, but he just doesn't get it. Whatever, I'm sure my second husband will understand.
*The reasonable question here is,"Why don't you just keep the water in your bag instead of removing it every time you come home?" Well, I don't know. I just don't.
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Illustration by Tara Jacoby.