Confessions of a Water-Spiller

I can’t deny it any longer: I am a water-spiller. I spill water. Not all the time, but more than most people. Not intentionally — but does that matter? If you’re sitting near me, and I have a glass of water, be afraid. Be very afraid.

Here’s what to expect, if you ever find yourself sitting across the table from me at a restaurant. One minute, we’ll be eating and chatting like normal people, and then, without warning, I’ll lose situational awareness* and make some random hand gesture that sends my water glass flying across the table, drenching you in the process. The entire restaurant staff will flock to the table with napkins and towels, and in a moment, the table will be dry, you’ll be somewhat damp, and I’ll be trying desperately to convince myself that no one noticed. Next comes the truly crazy thing: someone will bring me another glass of water, in what I assume is a wildly misguided demonstration of trust. Or a dare. Or some kind of test. Or maybe it’s an attempt at first aid — perhaps they assume that the water-spilling was the result of a loss of motor skills caused by severe dehydration**.

If you do find yourself sitting across from me at a restaurant, you may want to try one of these strategies:

  1. Switch seats with someone else (but not me, because that would defeat the purpose).
  2. Help me maintain water glass awareness by subtly working water-spilling into the conversation (“I love your blog. My favorite post was the one about how you’re always spilling glasses of water on people in restaurants. Oh, look! We’re in a restaurant! Ha ha. What a coincidence. Hey, did I mention that my spouse and I are considering having a baby at some as-yet-undetermined point in the future, and that if we do, we’ll buy several sippy cups for said baby? You know what’s great about sippy cups? If you knock one over, nothing spills out of it, which distinguishes it from a regular water glass — you know, like that one right there, just inches from your hand.”).
  3. Glare silently at me throughout the entire meal. This will make me so uncomfortable that I’ll refrain from making the sort of gestures that lead to water glass catastrophes.
  4. Preemptively spill your glass of water on me.

The vast majority of my water spills occur in restaurants, although I have spilled water onto laptop computers at home twice. And once, on an airplane, I forgot that I’d taken the lid off the water bottle I was holding and accidentally poured water onto the man sitting next to me. He was surprisingly nice about it.

*I first encountered the phrase situational awareness months ago, and I’ve been trying to work it into conversation ever since.

**According to the Internet, loss of motor skills is not a symptom of severe dehydration. But I don’t think you need to know that to work in a restaurant.