• Completely surrounded by no water at all

    by  • 19 May, 2004 • Uncategorized • 2 Comments

    It’s amazing how many things we take for granted. Until they are taken away from us. Take water, for instance, or rather, take water away, for instance. That’s what happened on Monday morning. Yvonne was about to take a shower when the water all of a sudden stopped. I went to the cellar to check the pump. It was running but made a funny noice, as if it was running idle. It was. And it had been doing that all night, my downstairs neigbour told me. On my way back up I ran into Birte, in the company of mr. M., the house owner. Half an hour later we knew that the whole neigbourhood was without water. We would remain so until Tuesday late in the afternoon, for a total duration of 36 hours. Mathematically that doesn’t sound like much. Thirty six is not much. It’s definitely less than, say, a hundred. Or a thousand. But it does pose a few immediate problems which require some out-of-the-box measures.

    Okay, we can do without a shower for 2 days. It’s inconvenient, but it’s not that hot yet, so it feasible. We can brush our teeth and wash our face with bottled water. It becomes expensive if we need to do this for a prolonged period, but we’ll get by. The plants will have to do without until better times come along. We can decide not to wash up the dishes for a while. It’s a mess, but again, if it doesn’t last too long, we’ll survive. We don’t use water anymore for cooking and use the omnipresent olive oil instead. That never runs out. Hopefully. And who needs to drink water when there is wine available? So, in the face of our complete surroundedness-by-no-water-at-all (to paraphrase Onslow again) we become creative. There are a few bodily functions though, the result of which are usually and promptly washed away with water, that refuse to be put on hold. I’ll spare you the details, but trust me when I say that that’s when we become very creative.

    2 Responses to Completely surrounded by no water at all

    1. Tom
      19 May, 2004 at 20:58

      I was living in a Third World building in the late 1980s. It’s within spitting distance of my current residence, also a Third World establishment.

      We always had plenty of water, though it was often unheated. The heat was also often unheated.

      In my current residence, the water only fails to run about once every three months and, then, only for about five or six hours and we are given 12 hours’ notice.

      Still, as you have pointed out, there are certain bodily exigencies that require water or a wooded area nearby. Luckily, we have the latter.

      One of the elevators is not running at the moment and for all the moments over the past six days and the lobby door to the stairs is locked to be certain that riff-raff burglars, rapists, and muggers use the elevator, or simply conduct their business in the alcoves of the lobby. There is no security guard.

      With respect to the elevators, I’ve taken to paraphrasing a famous sexistAmerican expression comparing women and buses while standing with the surly crowd waiting in the lobby to get to their various floors: “Elevators are like women. Another one comes along every 15 minutes.”

      Nobody laughs.

      Go figure.

      Would you believe that I live in the Capital of the Capital of the Most Developed, Freeest country in the Universe?


    2. luc
      20 May, 2004 at 12:53

      You moved to Amsterdam? When did that happen?

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