COLUMN: June 21, 2012

I WATCHED, helpless to influence events, wishing it were five seconds earlier, before it all went wrong. It was not my fault.

Yes, I well understand the system – still water bottles are blue, fizzy water bottles are green – but the sequence of bottles in the vending machine went like this: blue, blue, blue, blue, blue, green, blue, green, green.

I was blinded by the blue sea and did not notice the island just off the verdant coast. So I pressed A6 and realised I had selected a fizzy water. THE WORST SORT.

So I watched as the little pushy thing pushed the green bottle forward, like a reluctant pirate walking the plank. “Get stuck,” I thought. “Maybe it will let me have another go.”

But down it plunged, and out I took it. And I sighed. For I do not like fizzy water. Yes, there are people out there who like nothing better than carbonated water, and I do not judge them, any more than I would judge women who take pictures of cupcakes and post them on the internet, or those grown men who wear nappies.

I am not one of those people. I am not three of those people. I just don’t see the point of fizzy water. Fizzy pop is fine. The fizziness cuts through the sweetness. Drink a glass of flat Coke and you might as well drink liquid candy floss.

And in champagne, of course. I am no bon viveur, I get excited when I find that the Hobnob I have just picked up has chocolate on the underside. But even I know a good thing when I taste it, and bubbles work in champagne.

But in water? Water has no taste. Liverpool is in a soft water area. My physics teacher came from a hard water area and maintained that hard water tastes better than soft water, but nobody believed him. He also came in one day with a perfectly round mark on his forehead, which was caused by the sucker of an arrow he had attached there to amuse his child. A physics teacher who does not understand the principles of a vacuum cannot be trusted on the flavour of hard and soft water.

So what we have in fizzy water is a carbonated, flavourless liquid. The bubbles do nothing except explode in your mouth. Where is the softness, you ask? There is none. It is pure aggression, with extra salt, like a brine-soaked pitbull terrier. And who could want one of those?

The only people who could possibly like fizzy water are those people who, like me, were brought up on Junior Disprin, the soluble tablet that children were given routinely until somebody checked and realised that giving aspirin to children is a bit like giving matches to children.

Nevertheless, these people might have come to associate the vile taste with the positive benefit of not having a headache, a little like Pavlov’s dogs, and so seek it out. It is the only possible explanation. They cannot be held responsible for their appalling lack of taste. If anything, we must blame their parents.

I walked back into the office glumly. I didn’t have another pound coin, but I couldn’t bear to drink it myself. I asked a colleague if he would like my water. A hasty explanation later, he was just as adamant that he did not.

I tried a few more people, all of whom replied with a combination of the word “Ugh!” and facial expressions of loathing towards me for even thinking they were the sort of people who would order “sparkling” water in restaurants.

It was not a scientific survey – and, frankly, I think science has let us down here if my physics teacher is any indication – but I could find little justification for the one-third to two-thirds proportion of sparkling to still water in the vending machine.

I had only one option. I unscrewed the cap, thought of Junior Disprin, and took a tentative swig. And then another. And I was pleasantly surprised.

That is because I am so rarely right. And I had been proven so. Fizzy water is horrid. Judge all those who like it however you like. And shun them.

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