I'm all about drinking water and staying hydrated when I'm on the go. I always leave for work with a Nalgene or stainless steel bottle in tow. I feel naked without my Camelbak on a morning bike ride. I get mad at myself for stowing a bottle in the trunk when my husband and I are driving somewhere for a weekend getaway. And when the airlines said no liquids until you pass through security, I'd bring an empty water bottle--or dump what liquid was left on the curb before going through security--and then find the water fountain to refill on my way to the gate so I could stay hydrated and not have to buy a drink.
But I never expected that airport step to constantly work against me. And it most recently happened on a return flight from Washington, D.C., where I had gone over Labor Day to run a half marathon with my friends. I did my usual--stop at the water fountain to refill my water bottle before the flight--and made it a point to do so because I was feeling pretty dehydrated still from the long run. Put the water bottle back in my backpack, waited at the gate, boarded the plane and D.C. was history. Now you're probably wondering what could possibly go wrong with something so routine. Well, the water bottle itself coupled with the air pressure--I'm assuming--do not make a good mix. The problem was that when I arrived back in Chicago my backpack was a little damp when I retrieved it from below the seat. The culprit? The water bottle could be the only suspect. Immediately I think "not again" after having a similar problem with a different water bottle when heading to New York in 2007. That time I actually left the sipper a pinch open so the water dribbled out while the bag was down in flight, soaked the bottom of a notebook and not much else inside the bag but drenched my cell phone and killed it. So I learned my lesson then to make sure the cap was on tight and the sipper was down on all future water bottles. But the water bottle struck again, I just didn't know how bad until I got off the plane. I can feel the dampness along the back and bottom of my bag but when I look inside none of my notebooks are wet and I can't figure out where all the water went.
In the end, I think it settled on my computer, nestled in its separate laptop compartment. The computer worked fine when I got home and worked all afternoon. Then by the evening it couldn't hold a battery charge, wouldn't turn on, and I basically had a dead device I was working with. Not good as I was trying to finish up a million and one deadlines and had all of my files saved on the hard drive just waiting to be uploaded to the external drive at the end of the week.
To avoid that from happening again--I can't go through another week like I had when my computer went kuputz or the cell phone debacle--I have yet to come up with a solution. It should just be another water bottle to bring with me on the go but the negative side in me thinks that it'll happen again even if I switch up the bottle, screw it on tight or change storage locations. What I really need to do is remember to stow the bag but remove the bottle and keep it in the pocket behind the seat until we land. Any thoughts?