Wednesday, January 23, 2013

no water | strange travels

part one: no water

On Monday the rain stopped and the sun came out to play.

It was also the day that our new ceiling fan stopped working. I checked all the obvious things but I still can’t see the problem. I may just have to crawl up into the insanely hot roof to see what the bloody hell the problem is with the wiring up there. Like getting into a goddamned oven.

Anyway, on the very same day we had another nasty surprise when we suddenly had no running water. Nothing, not even a dribble from any of the taps. Right away I assumed the municipality had turned off our water supply. I paid them short on the previous utility bill by R20 (about US$0.05 at a guess).

It’s their own fault. Their statement's always late and I have to blindly pay what I think is right. Last time it was too little. This time, who knows if I paid over or short? Had I to wait for the statement to make its appearance, I'd pay the account too late and it would always be in arrears.

I really believed they'd cut the water to show us what they had the power of doing if we didn't pay everything on time. I came over all funny and had blurry visions of driving to work with every conceivable container we could lay our parched hands on stuck in the car, returning every night with all of them filled with water for bathing, dishes and such.

I'm afraid dying of thirst is not the way I want to go one day; I was so desperate for cool running water that I commandeered The One to assist me in checking our water meter outside. I just wanted to see if we could find out what the problem was. We took along some pliers in case we needed them. After careful inspection I twisted some plastic bobs on the meter until they almost broke off. I don’t suppose they’re meant to be turned after all.

The One watched the street while I vandalised the municipality’s property. If they caught us, who knows what would have happened?

Regrettably, my best efforts had no effect on the water situation.

I was forced to go to bed without a bath, ripe from the day's stress at work and the adrenalin from our illegal activities in the street. I could have had a sponge bath in half a basin of water but that would have used all of the drinking water we possessed.

We went to bed early. Luckily the bedroom’s ceiling fan still works and it was all nice and cool in bed. Pity I was so distraught about the water that I had a hard time going to sleep. I was still wide awake at 2:00am, hoping to hear the geyser in the roof above our heads starting to fill with water... hoping badly it was all simply an elaborate mistake and that we would, after all, be able to flush the loo as needed.

I was fed up with the paranoid thoughts and got out of bed. I crept outside for a smoke. After a while I noticed the neighbours’ outside tap running at full blast; it’s right next to the boundary wall. Their kids had been playing there when I got home and one of them had probably opened the tap all the way.

Had I their telephone numbers, I really would have phoned the idiots. Even at that early hour. Water is precious and costly and should never be wasted. Instead, I sat quietly enjoying the small cascade for a wile, really glad I wouldn't have to sort out that particular bill.

The spring was back in my step and I skipped inside to test our own water. I’d obsessively made sure all the taps were firmly shut when we’d gone to bed to avoid waste. At the first turn the kitchen tap gave forth murky water that gradually ran clearer and faster. I sighed with relief and playfully switched on the geyser for an early morning bath, had another smoke outside and went back to bed. I slept like an infant until it was light.

The possibility that the entire neighbourhood was without water had never even occurred to us.

*

part two: strange travels

The One is currently member of a very decent medical scheme, his premium sponsored by family benefactors to whom we are eternally grateful.

For some odd reason, probably because said medical scheme is owned and operated by the state, The One’s very crucial medication was delivered to Alex’s work on Monday, while the actual delivery address is my work.

Alex not being in the country for the next four years, the medication was conscientiously forwarded to his current address and the meds are at this very moment snugly encased in a diplomatic pouch making their way to Finland. Instead of coming closer, the indispensable tablets are going further and further away. The bally pills are seeing more of the world than I ever have!

What makes the entire episode even more surreal is the fact that Alex is in South Africa currently. His father sadly passed away earlier this week in Johannesburg.

*

Blue Monday indeed.

Written by I
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