Water Water Everywhere
That’s probably not what you expected to see. Me either. You know how I’ve been griping about the incessant rain? The outcome of all those blustery thunder-wracked days that Beppo spent hiding under furniture from the evil storm gods is that now, instead of a counter covered with cherries, we’ve got a counter covered with bottled water, not to mention a huge pot of tap water boiling semi-permanently on the stove. We can’t drink from the tap, and dishes coming out of the dishwater have to be rinsed again in this boiled water. In the shower you have to keep your mouth tightly closed, which totally rules out singing. Believe me, this is all not as much fun as you might imagine.
Yesterday morning we got a call from a friend, followed soon after by a truck-mounted loudspeaker going up and down the streets, telling us not to drink the tap water, and to take all available containers downtown to the free drinking water distribution point.
We’d expected a mob scene, and the police were there to make sure there were no third world-style water riots, but since it was early on Sunday morning only the most water-deprived were waiting in line with their motley collection of bottles. We really had container envy when we saw this guy’s classy bottle,
because pretty much all we had that was clean enough to put water into
was Coke bottles. Quel scandale! But we were very happy to have the water, since it saved us from having to wash dishes in the Vittel and Badoit that we need for cooking and drinking water, and tomorrow when we go back to the truck for more we’ll have those now-empty mineral water bottles to fill up instead of the ignominious red-labeled heretical symbols of cultural imperialism.
Quite a few cafés were closed, not being able to wash dishes any better than we could, and we were wondering how the bakeries would fare. Yesterday’s dough had been made before the little river that’s our water source overflowed the water system and got contaminated with runoff and various things one doesn’t want to drink, so there was bread yesterday. But since this might last a week or more, it’s not clear to me how commercial life as usual will go on. Will bakers be trudging the back roads to borrow cups of water? How can the town function without cafés? I’d have gone downtown today to check up on these important details but it was raining and thundering too hard to even think about it.
Even home life is radically altered. It’s amazing how one’s hand automatically goes for the various faucets around the house. So much so that I’ve resorted to putting them all in an “out of service” position before one of us accidentally brushes our teeth in something that used to be sitting on a farmer’s field.
We’ve learned that when you fill the espresso machine with Badoit, which is slightly fizzy, the machine makes even more interesting noises than usual, although the coffee tastes exactly the same.
And we’ve learned that Beppo prefers Vittel to Badoit, although I’m hoping he won’t get too used to it before we finally get our water supply restored. The luxury of clean, ever-present tap water: think about it. You know we are.