Being a moderately outdoorsy sort, I have an entire cabinet’s worth of refillable water bottles: Nalgenes, Fifty/Fiftys, Hydro Flasks, on and on. Did I buy these? Were they gifted to me? Are they reproducing while my back is turned? The only attrition to this collection occurs not in the woods or mountains or on rivers, but on airplanes, where I habitually forget them.
I flew to and from Florida this past week, and because flying to and from Missoula always means connecting somewhere, I sat on four airplanes in five days. Naturally, the odds were too great against me, and I lost a good water bottle this trip, one with a flip-open, spill-proof spout, and double-wall insulation. We had a good run, but I miss it.
I tell myself that placing the water bottle in the seat pocket in front of me will remind me to take it with me when I disembark, but this still fails me. Maybe it’s because I’m struggling not to smack other passengers with my backpack in the .05 square feet we’re sharing, or because I’m rushing from gate B13 to gate B96 in the Denver airport to make a connection. What happens to these possessions left behind? I want to hope that, in the case of water bottles or hoodies or headphones, they’re cleaned and donated to the less fortunate.
I guess I’m grateful that I tend to only leave water bottles, not something irreplaceable like a special book gifted to me by my grandfather (happened to my boyfriend) or a journal I’d be keeping for an entire year (happened to a friend of mine). What’s the most valuable or irreplaceable item you’ve left on an airplane? I know a forgotten Hydro Flask isn’t the end of the world, but still, I really liked that damn water bottle.