My closest friends know I have issues about water. I worry we won’t have enough. I always bring my own and I don’t drink bathroom faucet water unless it is at my own home. I know that the tap water from the kitchen sink is the same water from the bathroom sink, and it’s not that I think your bathroom isn’t clean…it’s just that, well I’m not sure why. There is something about it that makes me squeamish. I’m not proud of this, mind you. I am just being honest.
I cannot go to Costco without purchasing a case of water and I carry bottles of water in my car at all times. Until this third week of February, when I was completely discombobulated by our freezing weather, loss of power and depletion of water. We had twelve bottles of water in the garage and just a mere trickle of droplets coming from our faucets before it completely cut off. As a former Girl Scout, I was totally chagrined at my lack of preparedness and cavalier attitude. My years of lecturing family, friends, and coworkers on the importance of drinking enough water every day and planning ahead fell flat as we stood at the sink for hours at a time to get enough drops to half fill a small saucepan with enough bad water to boil. We also scooped snow and stored it in a cooler to use for flushing the commode. Oh, the horrors and indignities we suffered!
It used to be, if anyone complained of a headache, I asked, “When is the last time you drank some water?” Stomachache, sore throat, bad mood? “Here, drink this glass of water.” Water is the answer to all your ills. I firmly believe that, and the fact that this week Boo and I have been less than cordial to each other on a few occasions just proved the point that we needed water.
When we travel, you can be sure that I have packed water bottles in my suitcase and cuties in my purse. Once, on a cruise, I brought a case of water and checked it like luggage. They actually let me do it and even brought it to my room.
“You embarrass me sometimes,” Boo said.
“Do you know they charge $6 for a bottle of water on the ship? You should be proud of me.”
Once, we were on vacation in Philadelphia. I had drunk all my water and asked Boo to go across the street from our hotel and purchase two bottles of water from a rather shady McDonalds.
“If I go, I’m going to smoke first.”
“OK,” I said.
I stood at our fifteenth-floor window and watched as Boo came out of the hotel. He smoked and then walked across the busy street toward the McDonalds. Then I saw three rather unsavory-looking guys approach him and they stood in a circle talking. One of the guys must have been the ringleader because he talked the whole time and gestured with his hands. I watched as Boo gave each of them a cigarette, opened his wallet, and handed the man who was talking, some dollar bills. I was yelling and waving my arms, but of course he couldn’t see me from the fifteenth floor. Then the main guy put his arm around Boo, and they turned around and all four walked down some dim lit steps that led to who knows where. I stood frozen as I watched them walk out of sight.
I’m not going to lie, I was scared. I had a vision of Boo being mugged and left for dead. He would be lying crumpled at the bottom of those stairs, with his empty wallet nearby, and blood gushing from a knife wound. I thought I should call the police, but I stood frozen watching out the window for what seemed like hours. I envisioned the police report and how I would have to admit I sent him out at 10:30 p.m. for bottled water. Seven long minutes later, Boo emerged from the dingy steps with his new best friend’s arm around him. They said goodbye at the corner and Boo walked up to the hotel, holding a McDonalds bag.
“Boo!!!! I’m so sorry. I was so worried and thought I should call the police, but I froze! I saw that guy with his arm around you. What happened?” I cried.
“Oh, they wanted to bum cigarettes and then said they were hungry, so I bought them all burgers. Then, the one guy told me he would escort me into the McDonalds and keep me safe from the riff raff while I bought the water. He said we would be friends for life. It was quite the experience. We had to go down some scary stairs to the Mickey D’s. The things I do for you.”
I was appreciative of Boo’s heroics, and I knew I may have pushed things a little too far. So, I got my own water from then on out, and tried to plan ahead. Which brings me full circle to our Polar Vortex, the very same one I was not prepared for. As Boo and I lamented about the fact that our only baths had been with baby wipes and we had drunk all the beer and Gatorade, I remembered a cheery bit of information to pass on.
“According to the Mayo Clinic, men should drink 15.5 cups of water a day. That’s only 124 ounces,” I quoted.
“Are you trying to drown me?”
“I don’t care, the Mayo Clinic is never wrong,” I said.
“Good, I love mayo on my ham sandwiches.”
My quote of statistics does fall flat in the light of February’s disaster for so many. My gratitude has grown for all of the things I have taken for granted. Clean clothes, clean dishes, clean water to drink. Not to mention so many without electricity and a warm place to stay. My fellow Texans have had a very rough few weeks, and I sincerely hope and pray things are getting back to normal considering the Pandemic and all. As for me, I promise to be better prepared, more grateful, and less haughty about ‘bathroom’ water.