World Water Day occurs every March 22nd, focusing attention on the importance of freshwater.
Last year, I took the five hour water challenge as part of my English grade. The challenge was to refrain from using or drinking water for no more than five hours, but being me, I messed up a little bit. Here is the A-worthy narrative, fabricated due to my experience as an educated dumbass.
Imagine this: you see yourself just peacefully sleeping, head on the pillow very satisfactorily, a small smile being tickled by strands of hair… It sounds pleasant right? But then things get twisted, as if this was a bad horror movie. And it is. A spirited scream cuts through the peace, making your eyes shoot open, and before you can even comprehend the fact that there is a disturbance in the atmosphere, your heart is already pumping and the unrealistic thought of a serial killer just walls away creeps into your mind. Then you lay there for a few seconds, trying to shoot the bad thoughts down and go back to sleep even though the sun is shining in your eyes and your mouth feels like cotton. Soon enough, you realize you’re on a college campus with a large amount of hormonal teens who can’t stop screaming to save their lives, and there is no real danger. If anything, the most dangerous thing that could arise within the next few minutes was a continuing case of dry mouth if you didn’t roll out of bed. Additionally, just because you’re under a bunch of blankets doesn’t mean you’re immune to dehydration, no matter how hardcore your belief that blankets are an alternative to life in a giant plastic bubble.
It was a Saturday morning and my roommate left the window open, again, letting the unwanted cold into our dorm. As I rolled over in my bed I realized she was nowhere in sight, and I could close the window without her opening it two minutes later. Another thing I could do without judgment was wake up fully by falling out of my bed and onto the carpet. Just before that, however, I reached under my pillow and pulled out my phone – a bad habit, I know – and checked my texts to see that my friends were all planning on getting brunch at 12. To my luck, it was no earlier than 11:45.
Reluctantly, I rolled out of bed and onto the floor and got back onto my feet within a span of two minutes; a new record. Apart from checking my phone and purposefully falling onto dust each morning, I normally take a sip of water from the bottle I leave on my desk. Though, the red bottle was not resting on my desk, or under my bed, or in my bag, or in the refrigerator. In fact, after a few seconds of sheer incomprehension, I realized I must’ve left it in one of the dorm lounges after my friends and I’s weekly Friday movie nights terminated. To go fetch it, or not to fetch it, that is the question. While in debate with myself, I put on my coat and some combat boots that wouldn’t prepare me to combat the harsh October weather approaching.
In a groggy state of mind, I skipped my daily routine and rushed to the dining hall to meet up with my squad. Upon approaching a booth, I was greeted not only by my friends, but by glass cups filled to the brim with orange juice, coca cola, and water. Now, I’d absolutely love to join this clan of hydrating hyenas hysterical over the spelling of each other’s names backwards as they comfortably took sips from their lovely cups. However, I had little trust in the cleanliness of them, and thus, I stayed thirsty throughout our two-and-a-half-hour brunch.
At around 3 in the afternoon we lost strength in our numbers as members from our squad retreated to their dorms in search for heavier coats. In turn, I searched for a water source. My vision began to get a little hazy and my mind began to fatigue, nonetheless, the grey skies told me that it was about to rain in good ol’ suburban Connecticut, and I’d be ok. Not saying I’d drink the rain, but it’d be an excuse to go inside and find a water fountain. Instead, I stayed with the five remaining members of my squad, as we walked through the quad on what appeared to be IRHA’s (Inter-Residential Housing Association) celebration of New England Day. You would’ve thought they’d have a cup of water there to accompany the apple cider doughnuts some poor kids had to eat off a string, but no, my dry mouth didn’t come in contact with a single drop. Stay thirsty.
We passed a woman drawing free caricatures and because college students drift towards free stuff like a bug does to a bright light, we all decided to hop in line. Five minutes turned to ten minutes, ten to fifteen. Dry tongue turned into dust. Fifteen to twenty. Dust blew away like a sandstorm in the Sahara Desert. Twenty-five. Eventually three of us settled shoulder to shoulder on two folding chairs for an additional ten minutes as our faces were studied and scribbled one by one. The final product was a black and white cartoon of myself and two friends, with our names scribbled in box letters. Now, trust me, I loved this photo because I’m always in favor of family photos and anything art related, but it didn’t accurately reflect us, or at least I thought it didn’t. At that moment I felt dizzy and lightheaded, but the portrait didn’t reflect that. Where was my dry mouth? Where were the bags under my eyes and the headache on the horizon? Most importantly, why didn’t the caricaturist draw a black and white water bottle for me?
After thanking the woman for her service, we went on our merry ways back to my dorm in order to complete our work as a group. Before I even knew what was happening, my friends began blasting U2 and Twenty One Pilots all at once, along with arguing over Nickleback’s popularity. Finding Nickleback to be downright awful, I had to put in my two cents. Though, after a few minutes or arguing, my throat really began to scratch and my headache was so evident that my temple began throbbing.
Slowly but surely, 5:00 pm rolled around and I realized I miraculously completed the five-hour water challenge. As the Dos Equis guy would say, stay thirsty, my friends.
The question anyone reading this may have is simply: why didn’t you just get water sooner? The answer: I don’t know. Was it because my subconscious secretly remembered the five-hour water challenge and figured it would be best to dehydrate myself in order to complete this paper? Or was I just downright too lazy to stray away for a moment to get a sip of water? Either or, I completed it, and here’s what I learned:
Primarily, water is seen as a privilege. That’s basic knowledge, but truly, some people forget that. As Adwapa Donkoh states in her article titled “Is Water a Right or a Privilege?”: “Water existed before any of us came into being, so technically, nobody should dictate who can or cannot have access to water” (Donkoh). We’re at a good school where water is available to us through vending machines, soda machines, water fountains, you name it. With that said, taking time off without using water, and getting a little sick because of it, made me think about all the people out there who don’t have access to clean water, and how it hurts them. The effects that I felt, including the headache and dry mouth, disadvantaged individuals experience daily. Water is a right to everyone, and there are consequences when said right is stripped away.
Ultimately, don’t ever deprive yourself from water. If it’s in reach, just go for it. As stated, the consequences of not drinking water outweigh anything and everything else. Philosopher Henry David Thoreau once said, “water is the only drink for a wise man” (Thoreau). From a health standpoint, this couldn’t be more true. Robbing yourself of the privilege of a glass of water when you’re thirsty isn’t salutary in any shape or form. Be the wise man and just go out of your way to drink even a sip. You’ll feel awful if you don’t. Don’t abide by what the Dos Equis guy says, don’t stay thirsty, my friends.
Donkoh, Adwapa. “Is Water a Right or a Privilege?” AMP Global Youth. 28 Sept. 2010. Web. 25
Thoreau, Henry David. “A Quote from Walden.” Goodreads. Goodreads Inc, 12 June 2010.
Web. 26 Oct. 2015.