September 13th, 2007

A Crushing Blow

I just got back from Trader Joe's, where my beloved Gerolsteiner Sprudel remains out of stock. Seeing Darren, one of my favorite people who work there, I decided to inquire when it would be back in stock. Soon another employee came out of the back to inform me that the product is presently out of stock because the company is switching to plastic bottles. That's bad news from an environmental standpoint, since glass is greatly preferable. But, while I recognize this fact, my thoughts keep drifting in a more selfish direction.

First of all, carbonated beverages always taste better in glass than they do in plastic. They lose their crispness in the latter. The first ice-cold Schlug, right after you open the bottle, suffers a particularly depressing fate in a plastic bottle, for the water inside it invariably lacks tastes warmer and flatter. More than that, though, there's the feel of the glass Gerolsteiner bottle itself. To paraphrase Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady, "I've grown accustomed to its shape." The ritual of twisting the cap off, taking a drink, then twisting it back on has become as much a sine qua non of my teaching as the way I use the whiteboard. When it became my turn to pay today, the checker asked me the standard, "How are you doing today?" My reply, in my best imitation of Peter Finch: "I'm mad as hell!"