My father once accused my mother of drinking too much. Since this actually happened before I was born, I don’t know whether he said, “bebes demasiado” or “¿por qué bebes tanto?” or some other construction that would be translated in English as “you drink too much.” What I do know, since this anecdote rightly belongs to my sister, is that she repeated it at school and my mother was called in “for a parent conference.” In English, if you say someone “drinks too much” what you’re saying is that they have “a drinking problem” which is just one more euphemism for accusing someone of being an alcoholic.
The circumstances that prompted my father’s comment were that he’d gone to the dumb-waiter where we kept the soft drinks and found that all of the cans of soda (“pop” at the time) were empty, waiting to be recycled. His complaint was that my mother ingested too much liquid, leaving none for him.
As a kid, it became clear that I also drank too much. My father would say that he was going to buy a cow to keep in the fridge because I drank almost a gallon of milk (3.78 liters) every day at home. At school, I drank two pints (0.94L) plus whatever was in my Garfield Thermos which is a lot of liquid for a person who was under 4 feet tall.
And I still drink too much. On a normal day, when I don’t do any extra exercise or am not talking excessively, I put away about three liters of water and a liter-and-a-half of Coke Zero, easy. The downside to all this drinking is that I have to buy and carry massive quantities of liquids several times a week.
The cashiers at my store must have initially thought that I was having lots of parties. Now, when I roll up with my cart and say, “I’ve got eight Coke Zeros,” they don’t even bother checking because they know that I buy a lot of Coke. A couple days later I’ll roll up and say, “Two packs of Vittel” and show them the scannable sticker that Vittel cleverly puts on each 6-pack so you don’t have to remove them from your cart. They don’t bat an eyelash since they know I also buy lots of water. With these two shopping trips, I’m set, liquid-wise, for one week.
Why the hell should you care about any of this? You don’t have to, but I’ll tell you that when you drink so much, your priorities shift. I absolutely require that any building I live in have an elevator because there’s no way I can carry all those bottles up flights of stairs.
Which is just a reminder that I’m still looking for an apartment. I’ve narrowed it down to a couple neighborhoods and know that I want a decent-sized studio instead of a one-bed, but finding this combination with an elevator is proving to be very difficult. As they say over here, c’est pas evident [it ain’t easy].