Monday, June 25, 2012

Hot and Cold

Water temperature is part of our idiomatic language. When we're in trouble, we say we're in "hot water". When some folk are critical of our plans, they may "pour cold water on them". if we are dubious about something, our reaction may be "lukewarm' or "tepid". Our ancestors in temperate zones didn't have to face a water shortage. We have become quite prodigal with our water supply, and have been proud of our ability to turn a desert into lush pasture by intensive irrigation. "Fracking", to release natural gas from rocky subsurface land, requires millions of gallons of water, which may become so contaminated that it is unsuitable for recycling. Barbara & I have faced droughts at our homes in both California and Colorado. We have played our part in conserving water, taking shorter or "Navy" showers, asking for water in a restaurant only if we needed it to drink, and limiting our use for landscaping. We have also installed low-flow toilets. I hate waste of any sort, particularly of food and water. I instituted a practice, no longer insisted upon, of not flushing after every urination, and enjoyed the aphorism "Yellow is mellow, but brown goes down". We use solar power as our primary method of heating water, but I remain concerned about the wastage of domestic water when it has to travel many feet from the basement to the upstairs bathroom. Years ago. in a drought year, I learned to wash my hands in cold water. I feel the same way now, and I turn on the cold tap to wash my hands to this day. I don't ask or expect Barbara to follow my example, so she runs the hot water in the bathroom we share. If she has recently washed her hands, and I need a mug of water to drink, the cold tap will run lukewarm for a few seconds. Yes, I'm not fond of drinking tepid liquid, but as a man of principle--or stubborn ass, your call--I drink it, happily self-righteous at my noble efforts to save water.

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