Now, I'm no dummy, but I don't exactly know what "infused" means.
The manner in which I introduce cold beverages into my body changed permanently, or at least until the next hydration fad comes along, when I strolled into work one recent morning.
There, on a colleague's desk, was some sort of tall plastic cup with some kind of snap-on lid. Nothing worth doing a double-take over, right?
But there was something else going on here, something that made the large beverage receptacle look especially advanced, almost like it featured some type of NASA space technology, or something other-wordly. Did I mention it was quite colorful, too?
Curiosity subsequently got the best of this cat. "What are you drinking?" I asked.
"Just water," she said.
Then, almost like she purposely paused to add to the drama already building like magma inside a volcano that's about to blow, my colleague added the words that almost threw me into a tizzy:
"But it's infused."
Now, I'm no dummy, but I don't exactly know what "infused" means. I grasp the general idea, I suppose. It's like injecting something with something, but it's a little different, right? Like, can you inject something into a turkey on Thanksgiving, or is there a little infusion process going on there, too? Either way, something is going into something else, and when I was told by my colleague that she was drinking ice water that was infused, I realized – as someone who digs a big glass of ice water as much as any other fan of stone-cold hydration – that this was a big moment.
The little contraption near the top of her plastic, techno-drink container was stuffed with bright red strawberries, and they were sort of being squished so that the natural juice was being dispersed into the water.
I told my wife later that day about what I'd witnessed, and I was only about a sentence into what I had planned would be a detailed, enthusiastic description, when she started nodding her head in particularly knowing fashion and even started to finish my thought for me. It was obvious she knew precisely what I was talking about.
"Yeah, I know," she said in a sort of smartest-person-in-the-room fashion. "Infused water."
So she knew all about this technology, this drink phenomenon, but for whatever reason had chosen not to let me in on the little secret.
But my level of irked-ness quickly dissipated, because it was only a day later when I opened the refrigerator in search of something to drink and I observed three – not the normal two – pitchers of liquid on the shelf.
Usually, you see, I'll just get some ice and water from the fridge's ice and water dispenser. But on this day I was in search of a little flavor, a little color, and figured there was about a 99 percent that the fridge's top shelf would be home to a pitcher of orange juice or Powerade, or maybe both.
But, talk about intrigue. What was in that opaque third pitcher? Did I dare dream?
I reached for it and kind of felt something beyond liquid sloshing around inside. I pulled it low enough to look down inside from above, and the mystery was revealed. There, floating on the top of what appeared to be water was a collection of orange wedges, lime slices and – OMG! – were those cut-up strawberry chunks?
Sure enough, for what must be an infinite number of times in the almost 24 years since the day we met, this woman had gone out of her way to put a smile on my face and a song in my heart. She'd cut up some fruit and infused it into a pitcher of water less than a day after I told her that it sounded a bit more satisfying than a boring glass of water, and healthier, too
Then, I poured some in a large glass with ice, took my first couple of gulps, and my taste buds sang and danced in the street...that is, if the surface of my tongue, to them, is a street. It was like drinking water, but with a tiny bit of natural fruit flavoring added. Truly miraculous.
In less than a day, the pitcher was empty, and my wife infused another one. About a day later, a third pitcher was filled and fruit proceeded to be infused into its contents.
But this one, inevitably, lasted a bit longer. In the interim, you see, Powerade had come out with a concentrated liquid to squeeze into a single glass, which was more convenient than the canisters of powder we typically bought. Mio-water had come out with a new flavor, too, and there were cans of Brisk raspberry tea left over from the Fourth of July.
But, about three days later, I figured I'd put a big dent in that third pitcher of infused water, so I stirred up the squished oranges, limes and strawberries floating on the top of the water and poured it in a glass. My first – and last – drink tasted like an old rubber soul of a shoe in my mouth...just bitter as hell.
And with that, I was over my brief infusion obsession. Maybe I’ll try to revive it at Christmastime, by infusing egg nog into egg nog.