Here’s the thing. I didn’t do anything exciting this past week, nor did I have anything extraordinary happen to me. This is a curse for a writer who writes about stuff that happens to him. I’m currently alternating between staring at a blank screen waiting for words to appear, and gazing out the window and hoping that something exotic walks by and does something crazy. I don’t see that happening any time soon, although I was eating a turkey sandwich on the porch the other day when an actual turkey strolled out of the bushes. Man, talk about awkward.
I will tell you that it’s thirty-five degrees colder right now than it was twenty-four hours ago, and that it’s also raining and quite windy. This is a good thing, since it’s helped knock the pollen off the pine trees. Every year we have to deal with everything inside and
outside our house being coated with a sticky yellow powder, as the pine trees blast the air with the makings of more pine trees. Thank goodness the rain and wind of the past twelve hours has put a damper on those shenanigans. Everything looks sharper now, bathed clean of the pollen and the cottonwood fuzzies that have been floating all around town.
OK, I think I’ve got it now. The rain sparked something.
I’m not trying to brag here, but my ancestors were smart enough to settle near one of the Great Lakes—the one that currently holds twenty percent of the drinking water on Earth, which means lots of available water. I also have to give credit to the public entity that filters out the assorted debris I see washed up on the beach, because the combination of a big lake and somebody to clean out the nasties means that we have potable water coming out of our ears. We get four gallons of fresh water out of the tap for the grand sum of a penny with no restrictions, so let it flow—it’s a water-filled bacchanalia around here.
We’ve always had plenty of water, but we never used to concern ourselves with the quantity of water we drank. We drank when we were thirsty, and that was about it. Now we are told that we must drink eight, eight-ounce glasses of water per day, which goes way beyond the slaking of thirst into an entirely new category called hydration. If one loses count of all those glasses of water, the best way to gauge our hydration level is to study the color of our pee. There are normally sane people who actually do this each time they go to the bathroom, so in case there are any non-pee gazers out there, the proper color range is from straw to clear, but I think blue would be interesting. That isn’t an option, but if one eats enough carrots, orange is definitely possible.
I never recall being dehydrated when I was a kid. I may have been thirsty or a little parched once in a while, but I never gave a moment’s thought to bulking up my hydration. My mom served milk with meals, and on rare occasions, we had some sort of generic soda pop or maybe Kool-Aid. We never drank water out of a glass unless it involved swishing and spitting. The only two times that any self-respecting kid drank water when I was young was from a hot, rubber garden hose or from a public drinking fountain.
We still have garden hoses, of course, but public drinking fountains seem to have fallen out of favor. I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point over the past few years, drinking fountains began to grow scarce, so when one turns up, I view it with the same amazement given to revolving doors or a phone booth.
Just the other day, on the very day I ate a turkey sandwich in full view of an actual turkey, I drank from a public drinking fountain in a place that sells and repairs lawnmowers. I was thirsty, but I mostly did it for no other reason than because it was there. The water was ice cold and delicious, and I won’t deny it—drinking out of a fountain is kind of fun. I’d put one in my house if I had a good spot for it.
By contrast, there are people today who won’t drink the tap water in their own kitchens unless they go the extra step and purify it themselves. For some odd reason, they believe that an ugly device that is attached to the kitchen faucet will surpass the complex filtration systems used by the water authority. “Let’s see, I need to capture that last microscopic speck of whatever it is that got through the filters, screens and ultraviolet lights used by professional water cleaners before this sludge is finally safe to drink.”
Of course, one can always buy bottled water in handy plastic bottles, and many people do, both out of necessity (people with well water) or because they are doomsday preppers who squirrel away enough water to fill a swimming pool. Mrs. G. and I were in the grocery store the other day, and there was an entire aisle devoted to plain water in bottles. It went on for fifty feet before it faded into various types of bottled iced tea, which one can make at home for about a dime a gallon using ordinary tea bags and the water that flows like…like…like water from the tap.
All this talk about water has made me not only thirsty but also a little bit hungry. I’m pretty sure there’s still some turkey left, but the rain and cold will keep me inside today. Forty-nine degrees on the last day of May is a little nippy but hey—a flannel shirt and shorts makes for an interesting combination. It should get warmer during the upcoming week, but I’m also hopeful that something interesting happens. It’s been kind of hard pumping water from a dry well.