I live on an island with a two-mile circumference off the coast of Miami Beach in the state of Florida. The number of miles I add to my car per year is but a fraction of what my California-based family members experience in their weekly commutes. Because of that, the newly inflated prices at the nation’s gas pumps have no impact on me. Not really.
Something akin to 100% of my Island’s population is “fully vaccinated,” the folks attending my wife’s book signings are all masked and socially distanced, our housekeeper is devoted and honest. My life is good.
No matter how the Proud Boys rage, at 84 years of age, I will probably not live to see the oft predicted end of democracy as we know it. This is a problem my grandchildren will have to fix, and one my children might well have to endure. As to the expansion of the rising seas, well, the incremental increase is such that the inundation of my Island paradise will most likely not occur until long after my residency on the planet, as well as the island, has lapsed. I am okay.
I find myself in a land of plenty, unimpacted by the tribulations that so many experience daily. I remain unphased. I have all that I need. The kinks in the supply chain have not had a heavy impact on my life. What if it takes Amazon three days instead of one to bring me my latest indulgence? I am nothing if not patient.
A notice has come from Boylan bottlers. The bi-monthly delivery of the only carbonated beverage I ever drink will be… “for the foreseeable future”… suspended. They have (apparently) literally run out of gas.
This is an authentic upset in the Rosenzweig/Gless household. In over thirty years of marriage, the only gift I recall ever requesting from my spouse, is a renewal of my annual subscription for these five cases of bottled bubbly water, delivered monthly, from New Jersey.
We are talking about real seltzer here, not something from a so-called natural spring, or the too salty version of clear carbonation known as Club Soda. This is the best gas-infused beverage on the planet: no salt, no sugar, zero calories, and bottled in glass… not plastic, and NOT canned.
Boylan’s has been doing this since the latter part of the 19th century. The slender light blue colored glass bottle with the long neck was all but iconic. The length of the bottle’s “neck” is important as there is a certain “physics thing” that happens between the density of the bubbles in the water and the distance it must travel before entering the mouth…
It should go without saying that this elixir must not be poured into a container of any kind before drinking, rather it should cascade directly from the bottle, past the lips and gums, and onto the tongue where the tangy liquid should be allowed to linger for a moment before swishing about in the mouth prior to swallowing.
Truth to tell there have been signs of cracks in this picture of excellence: after over 120 years of family control, a corporation absorbed Boylan’s, complete with bean counters, speculating that a whole bunch of money would be saved by not giving the bottle a color, and by shortening the bottle’s neck. They were truly messing with perfection.
Once again, as with all else in life, I adjust. The clear colored bottle is “fine” and, although I miss the extra half inch of my beloved cascading beverage, I can… and have… made do.
Now they ask too much. How can there be an interruption in the supply chain of such an esoteric thing as Seltzer? Why should this occur? Have the Chinese withheld a computerized chip that allows the bubbles to be infused? Is Biden to blame? Would this have been even possible under a Trump administration?
I do not mean to sound paranoid, but does one imagine for a moment that such a gas shortage exists for their Boylan’s root beer, or any of their other many flavored drinks? Could this be an antisemitic trope… or an ageism statement by the same management team that approved the shortening of my favorite neck bottle?
It remains to be seen what one lone man can do from a warm island. Meanwhile, I husband the bottles that remain, intercepting thirsty houseguests advancing on the refrigerator, with a forced smile and the question:
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I sincerely empathize with Barney’s loss of his favorite beverage. As a native New Yorker, growing up on the Lower East Side no less, I know seltzer and its benefits, both to digestion and to the best Soda Fountain treat ever – the Egg Cream.
Without genuine seltzer, the Egg Cream is not authentic. Carbonated water, Club Soda, doesn’t work. The Egg Cream requires very specific ingredients (that do not include eggs). One half milk, U-Bet chocolate syrup (no other syrup has the right flavor or consistency), and one half seltzer. Real Seltzer. As the seltzer is added, all the ingredients are stirred. The result, a frothy, delicious chocolate drink that is hard to find these days.
Although in my youth the seltzer came in glass bottles with a pump that created the gas bubbles, Boylan Seltzer comes close. So here’s hoping that the gas shortage ends quickly and that Barney gets his next delivery before he runs out of what seltzer he has left.