Monday, July 17, 2006

Water, water, everywhere—and everywhere else

Water is probably the most taken for granted, the most desired and the most overpriced commodity in America. There! I said it. Do you want water with your meal? Would like a slice of lemon? Would you prefer bottled water? The waitress asks this as she takes your order. Or better yet, she just brings a glass of pure, clear water without asking. A friend, recently returning from Europe said she didn't make the mistake twice of asking for water. She was brought a bottle of water and a side of sneer.

I would love to shake the hand of the first guy who said, “Hey, you know what we ought to bottle and sell? Water! Every person in America can get this in abundance, right from their tap, but hey, I bet they’d pay two bucks to buy it! Yeah, and in Las Vegas, where they run bathtubs and jacuzzis full of it? We can sell it for 4 dollars a bottle!”

I mean, that is salesmanship. It’s easy to sell rights to water in the desert, but what about selling water when you have it everywhere?

I live on a river, next to a creek (we call it a “crick,”) next to a pond. Some are saying the water levels are down right now, and while, yes, especially in our sudden heat wave, they are, we still have plenty of water. I am not worried that our well is going to run dry, or even be contaminated. I don't think about this at 2 a.m. when I'm praying through lists.

Since we live in the rural area, we have our own well and we pay to have it “softened.” It tastes like pure rust without the softener. We can always tell when the softener is low on salt. Now, with so many people anemic or with low iron, you’d think this would be a good thing, to have natural iron in the water. But unless you have ever tasted “iron water,” you probably don’t know what you’re talking about. Yeeck. (But it is possible to get used to it.)

On the other hand, I think the softened water is kind of tasteless, and it takes forever to wash shampoo and conditioner out of my hair. Back before we softened our water, I thought I had strawberry RED blonde hair, but now I’m discovering maybe I don’t! Weird, but true (and it throws my whole clothes' colors off—wow!) I may actually be a “cool” blonde like my Scandinavian mother, after all. Instead of wearing spring or autumn colors, maybe I should wear summer or winter colors?? Wow. Another topic entirely (I'm master of the rabbit trails. Understand, I'm a born Warren--and they, the rabbits, live in warrens...)

I’ve had people actually turn down our offers of water and ice (we have an icemaker) because “it tastes funny.” I thought water was water, and if you are thirsty, you don’t turn it down. So, what did I do? Being hospitable (though much more Mary than Martha, I'm afraid,) I went out and bought-BOUGHT-a case of WATER to offer to guests. I’m not kidding you. Around here, except for our electricity bill (for the electric pump,) we get our water FOR FREE—and lots of it. I have beautiful faucets that just pour (with good pressure) lovely, abundant water every single time it is turned on. And I’m paying for bottled water and ice because a guest or two doesn’t like our water? Irony is what that is. (Not to mention I pay for the water softener. Sheesh. But that is because it discolors the porcelain.)

Which brings me to a point(there really is some sort of point here)—do we water down our messages just to please our readers (guests?) That is what I’m thinking about as I write. I’m thinking, do I buy into the tasteless popularity of a message just to satisfy an audience? (I want everyone to agree with me or give me an "Amen!")Or do I say, “Take this iron water, or leave it—and leave here?Whatever~!”

It is a dilemma (or how I say it—a de-lemon, dropping the “a.”) Oh, and I like my water with lime—straight from the tap. Hold the rust--but a little rust never hurt anything and riches up the blood.

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