Can I get you a water?
No. Thank you, but no. This is my fault–I have a bottle of water already, and I should have put it in plain view. I understand from past appearances that if I don’t put my water in plain view you or someone else on your staff will continue to offer me some every couple of minutes until I either leave or say yes. You’re just trying to be hospitable, I know. You want to do something for me. An author in your library/bookstore/school is an apparition that’s equal parts magical and awkward, like a whale on a beach. And, like a beached whale, I am presumed to be vulnerable and in need of constant hydration.
I didn’t like how much bottled water I was drinking, so I bought this reusable bottle. Yes, it is shaped like a flask but no, it’s still water. The flask shape just happens to fit the pouches of my bag and if necessary, of course, my hip pocket. But isn’t it playful? Seeing this flask out in the open and so close to your children? It says that I’m one of you, that I do not spend every moment of my days in a child’s garden of verses–that I’m less Fred Rogers and more Shel Silverstein, but without all the whoring.