I've learned that in social settings, however, consistently requesting water puts a target on your back for comments, questions, and assumptions.
...why don't you drink?
...are you against alcohol?
...you just need to find a drink that you like.
And my personal favorite...
...don't worry, it's safe to drink here. We're not those kind of Christians.
I don't care what kind of Christians you are, but I do find it a little ironic that you're judging me for assuming that by drinking water I'm judging you. I'm not trying to make a statement. I just prefer water.
I do drink other things besides water, including alcohol, but it's not my norm. I don't care for the texture of carbonated drinks and I find most other beverages too sweet. I've sampled dozens of beers and mixed drinks and have yet to find an alcoholic beverage that I truly enjoy. Furthermore, I have a long list of things to accomplish in life that take priority over "acquiring a taste" for alcohol.
For a while I'd order a non-water beverage simply so people would leave me alone. I'd sip it slowly, secretly pining for the cool, clear familiarity of water. Recently, though, I decided I was getting too old for that nonsense. If people can't see past my bottle of water, those people probably aren't my friends.
I finally decided to stand up to the water-bullying when someone told me the following:
"You're getting water again? You need to live a little."
Excuse me? I need to live a little?
You want to play the "live a little" card?
Fine. Let me give you a little glimpse at my hand.
I've jumped out of a plane. (WITH a toothless, smelly hippie strapped to my back).
I just want water.
I've gone scuba diving in the ocean. At night. With an Israeli soldier.
A simple water, please.
I've experienced the rush of wind and adrenaline peeing above tree line while hiking up a 14er.
A flat water, thank you.
I bartered passage on a supply boat to get to a small island off the coast of Honduras.
Water, no lemon.
I got parasites eating at a roadside restaurant while in Honduras.
Water, extra lemon.
I've told jokes in big cities, small towns, prisons, Canada, bowling alleys and taco shops.
I'll take a water, please.
I've bombed jokes in front of hundreds of people.
Water takes the edge off life.
I've killed it telling jokes in front of hundreds of people.
Water can be a celebratory beverage if you make it one.
I've made friends with strangers on airplanes, at bus stops, in grocery stores, at comedy clubs, bars, in churches, and on the sides of mountains.
Please just let me have water.
I've failed big, succeeded big, and had my heart broken big.
Yes, I'd like a water.
I've written books, mentored teens, written for popular blogs, deflected trolls, taught countless children how to play musical instruments, and produced music shows and comedy nights.
Show me the water!
I've traveled to nine other countries (not including Texas), rafted down rivers, hiked up volcanos, and found amazing hole-in-the-wall diners, pubs, and food trucks.
Agua, por favor.
I've run marathons, completed triathlons, swam in the Mediterranean, eaten an entire pizza by myself in one sitting, and consumed a record number of Chipotle burritos.
If it's not too much trouble, I'll just have water.
If you drink, I'm not judging you. (Although watching drunk people doesn't necessarily make me regret my decision to stay sober.)
I won't give you a hard time for drinking a fluorescent blue drink if you won't give me a hard time for drinking something naturally found covering the majority of the earth.
If you see drinking alcohol as the only way to "live a little," then I suppose we'll have to agree to disagree on what it truly means to live.
This rant is over. You are free to carry on with your day.