(Inspired by and dedicated to Katie W.)
Jewish Young Adults of today tend to lean on the “Green” and eco-friendly side of things, eager to debate about the size of their carbon footprints or the cost/benefit of various alternative energy sources. Their emphatic environmentalism is sometimes expressed in other ways as well besides just through arguments. Specifically, JYAs have developed a bizarre attachment in recent years to Nalgene Bottles.
These plastic wonders, in both wide-lipped and thin-lipped form, were originally created for use in medical laboratories, but have gained widespread fame and notoriety for their near indestructibility and brand-worthiness. Today Nalgenes can be seen dotting the JYA landscape from colleges to minyans to singles events.
What is unique about JYAs and their Nalgene fetish is that the use differs between subgroups of JYAs. For example, JYAs of the Northwest, from cities like Portland, Seattle, Denver, or San Francisco, tend to use their Nalgenes on an almost daily basis. These JYAs, frequently nicknamed “Granola Jews”, tend to be avid hikers, trekkers, and general outdoorsy types. They prefer their Nalgene bottles in the original wide-lipped grey color and frequently accessorize their Nalgenes with stickers of “Keep Tahoe Blue” or “Save Mount Diablo”, or even wrapped in duct tape. “Because you never know when you are going to need some duct tape” said “Jason”, a JYA from Eugene, Oregon.
On the other end of the spectrum are those JYAs that prefer to stay strictly urban. These are the JYAs that never want to leave their cities of LA, Miama, or New York for any reason and tend to panic if there is no 24/7 corner store nearby where they can buy their Parliament Lights. These JYAs, frequently referred to as “JAPs”, prefer their Nalgene bottles thin-lipped in bright florescent colors and see Nalgenes as a statement to their commitment to ecological protection. One Upper West Side JYA, “Leora”, purchased a small bright pink Nalgene for her Pekingese named Bubbe because “Bubbe also cares about the earth, don’t you Bubbe-kins. Such a good girl! And what are we going to do when we see Ari and that tramp at Baronda? We are going to bite his balls off, aren’t we Bubbe. Because Ari dumped mommy for a slut, isn’t that right Bubbele!”
Most JYAs fall somewhere in the middle, and keep a Nalgene bottle conveniently in the trunk of their car at all times, usually filled with stale water, so they don’t have to keep remembering where they put it.
Whatever the reason, Nalgene Bottles have become a staple JYA accessory across the United States, and odds are strong that if you see a hiker on the trail with a Nalgene, or at the gym in Westwood with a Nalgene, that person is probably a JYA.