Look, I get it, but when the cops accost you two seconds after throwing away your Aquafina — it’s always Aquafina! — in the compost instead of whichever one it’s actually supposed to go in, you realize something about man’s vision of heaven. And lemme tell you: it ain’t pretty.
The cops were parading me around, holding me by my neck and generally proselytizing sustainability. I mean, I get the whole “save the planet” shtick; I was an Eagle Scout! A three-finger salute, leave-no-trace kinda straightedge who would ticket my own parents for littering, but one misplaced Aquafina bottle and it was straight to the gallows for me? After the 12th cop arrived I was handcuffed, but not before being thrown onto the desk in the post office and threatened to be taped into a box and shipped back to my mother for readjustment. I guessed this was just the life of a sinner.
After several speeches about the type of shady characters the Palo Alto jail held — embezzlers, rogue Girl Scouts, the usual suspects — I was in the cop car. I’d never been handcuffed before, and handcuffs scared me because my only experience with them came from reading that poster for the Cardinal Kink seminar out loud in the bathroom and the dude in the stall next to me explained the merits of consensual nonconsent and look I was scared, you know. So that deterred me more than anything. My freight train of thought was only interrupted by the realization that the cops were also throwing a rather intoxicated student into the backseat. Becky I don’t want to go to class, I just want to make weed brownies in the kitchenette!
And he asked me what I was there for and I said Aquafina murder and I swear, if I have to write the brand name Aquafina one more goddamn time I’m gonna turn into a feral animal and eat every plastic water bottle I see. Anywho, he responded, “Aquafina? Like the brand of purified bottled water products produced by PepsiCo, consisting of both unflavored and flavored water also licensed for use on multiple skin care products?” — and oh god, in that moment I was ready to strangle the CEO of Aquafina with a necklace made from Aquafina bottle caps.
So, the handcuffs hurt, and then the boy started shouting 99 bottles of beer on the wall. With each sentence he sang the cops would raise the volume of Sicko Mode that they had on repeat and so the boy changed tacts, beginning to catcall the car companies as they passed, yelling things like “Ayo what’s good Honda?” and “Hyundai, more like hyundam!” All the while Sicko Mode crawled higher and higher and it’s at these moments I wished I had paid a little more attention to what those fuckers at Greenpeace Stanford branch or something and hadn’t composted my Aquafina 32 oz. purified spring water bottle.