Picky Note:
Water Bottle
6 September 2018

¶ A long time ago, I discovered that if you take a thick ragg sock and fold it back, shin over foot, it makes a perfect sleeve for the 32-ounce Rubbermaid water bottle that features a straw with a flip-top mouthpiece built into the lid. The sock absorbs both condensation and spills, making it safe for a tote bag alongside books and magazines.

Not too much later, I stopped lugging a quart of water around every time I left the house, because there was usually plenty of water to be had wherever I was going. (I was now entering the era when I no longer drove, and in fact rarely left Manhattan Island.) The water-bottle-in-a-sock remained a part of my life, though, because when I discovered that the sock provided excellent insulation, keeping ice water icy for hours, I filled up the bottle every night and planted it on my nightstand. When morning came, I refill the bottle with fresh ice cubes. It’s great!

It’s great, except the mouth of the water bottle is just a tad too small to accommodate normal ice cubes. Smaller cubes would slide in easily, but they would also melt much faster, even with the insulation. Need I say that the ice trays are also made by Rubbermaid. 

What drives me crazy is the internal straw, which fits into a round socket on the bottom of the lid. It fits, but then it slips out, because there is nothing to hold it in place but friction. It would be much better if the straw and the socket were threaded. Another thing that would help would be to position the socket in the center of the lid, and not somewhat off-center. As it is, the straw rotates with the lid as I close it, and the resistance of the ice cubes pulls it out of the socket. It quite often takes three maddening tries to get the water bottle working.

The worst is when I pop a pill into my mouth and then find that the straw has slipped from the sock: no water!

I don’t know how long it took me to notice these design flaws — that is, to imagine actual improvements. The sock, however, has never let me down.

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