Sometimes as I contemplate things little thoughts come to me. I like little thoughts and observations. The things that get lost among the big things of life. My street photos are often about fleeting moments in life. That’s why I like candid photography. Unposed photos. Sometimes by choosing what unposed photos to work on they become posed by the very process but that’s okay. In order to examine the unexamined you have to have to look at it. I like examining and writing about small moments and things right on this very blog. That’s why I’m writing about this thought that came into my head recently: I used to be thirsty all the time.

We all have strange quirks and odd tastes. That’s something human beings share. One of my strange tastes is that I don’t like anything to drink but water and milk. I don’t know why but it’s been that way all my life. Even as a kid I would never drink soda, fruit juice, or any kind or sugar water. Believe me that made me a weird kid because I was the only one who always turned down soda.

My taste in food has changed since I was a child. There are plenty of things I like as an adult that I wouldn’t eat as a child. That’s normal. But my taste in drinks has never changed. I can’t stand carbonation and I can’t stand sweet drinks. That’s strange because I like sweets. I like cake, cookies, ice cream, and especially chocolate. But put that same sugar into a liquid and I don’t want it. I think sweet drinks taste terrible and leave a horrible coating on my mouth. I don’t like any flavor in my water. Even a lemon wedge turns me off.

As a consequence of not liking stuff to drink I was thirsty a lot. But I didn’t realize it. I only started to notice it when I was in my early 20s. Young people today probably don’t know it but there was a time before there was bottled water everywhere. If you were out running around town and stopped to buy a drink at a local newsstand, deli, or convenience store it was always a soda or maybe a fruit juice. A soft drink of some kind. It was the rare store that had a pint of milk and none of them had a bottled water. Maybe carbonated water but I couldn’t stand that stuff either.

Whenever I was out with friends and they stopped to get a soft drink I would get nothing. I just wouldn’t drink. The was nothing for me to drink so I didn’t. I can even remember what a hassle it was to get a glass of water at a fast food place. It wasn’t something that happened often so the workers had no idea how to handle it. At most places they kept track of soft drink sales by counting the cups they used so they had to find me some cup that wouldn’t be counted. I lot of times I just didn’t bother and drank nothing. That was normal for me.

Most of this being thirsty took place in the 1980s when I was in college and for a couple of years afterwards. It was about 1990 when bottled water started to make it’s way into a lot of stores. I remember because of the Port Authority Bus Station in NYC. I used to go out with my friends in the city and eventually make my way home on a bus so I was often at the bus station. Despite my home being only about 40 miles from the bus station it was often a two hour ride. That’s public transportation for you. And there is also no bathroom on the busses.

Sometimes I’d be leaving straight from whatever gathering I was at and sometimes I’d crash in the city and leave the next day. If I was leaving that evening I was usually especially thirsty. I never liked drinking alcohol so I wouldn’t drink all night as my friends were drinking. Getting a glass of water at a bar isn’t always easy either so I’d just go thirsty. Like I said it was normal for me to be thirsty. If I was leaving the next day I would want to drink too much before getting on the bus for fear of getting stuck with a full bladder and no bathroom around. So usually I’d arrive at Port Authority a little thirsty.

The bus is burned into my mind with being thirsty because more than once I’d be catching the bus and be really thirsty. The whole ride I’d be thinking about getting a big tall glass of water after I got home. Sometimes I was so thirsty that I drank from the tap in the bathroom with cupped hands before I got on the bus (the water fountains never worked at that time). But I didn’t want to drink too much because with bad traffic I could be trapped on that bus for a long time.

Then the bottled water craze hit. Poland Spring water was the first one that I remember. I had actually been around since the early to mid 1980s but it wasn’t everywhere like it is today. It probably was around 1990 or so that all the little newsstands and stores at the bus station started stocking water. Bottles were everywhere. Suddenly I could hit the bus station, buy a bottle of water and maybe some cookies, and then head for my bus. I didn’t have to drink all the water then. I could sip it. It was in a bottle after all. The danger of having to use the bathroom when there was no bathroom was gone. I was a normal person just like everyone else who rode the bus with a drink in hand. I wasn’t thirsty.

That thought came to me back in 1992 or so. “I’m not thirsty.” And I hadn’t really been thirsty in a long time. Sure we all get thirsty every now and then but thirsty was how I lived my life when I was out running around back before bottled water. I haven’t been thirsty like I used to be in decades. Now, like so many other people, I carry a water bottle with me to places. It’s hard to believe that being thirsty was something I took for granted. I never even gave it a thought until one day I realized I wasn’t thirsty anymore. What a strange day.