My first experience with water was, I am sure, the same as it was for you. I am not sure that amniotic fluid counts at water. If indeed it counts, there is also the question of my basic and most microscopic material being formed at the birth of my own mother – a small grain of me is far older, and has swam in waters more similar to that of prehistoric oceans than any mixture we concoct and for longer than my mere gestation to term, should I believe what dead scientists and my mother tell me. Whatever that first primum mobile of my aquatic life, my life with water has been a long and complex one.
In reading of certain developments in the world, I read about the fantastic opportunity of buying into a new continent forming in the more Sargasso section of the Pacific Ocean. This forming land is not magma, but trash. Fucktarded piles of plastic doo hickies and ding dongs, floating pellets what once took various shapes – toilet seats, Chatty Cathy dolls, dildos, car tail lights, and sundry other morphisms of that fantastic futuristic complex carbon chain. When I was on a beach in Hawaii there was a terrible storm, nothing so unusual for the season, but the next morning I wondered at the beach covered in such a fine litter of plastic bits. So much smaller than the general crap that floats up the river, or that I see when visiting Coney Island or other “beaches” our cesspool of a Megacity has created. There is one beach in particular that really captures where we are as a species, but I digress. Water.
I was born on an island in a hospital overlooking the ocean. I grew up on said island at a time when the adults were worried about water. It seems that the Commies had created a plan to fluoridate the water. The adults in my life knew this was a trap, a way to inject us with mind altering drugs and make us substitutable to whatever the fuck Commies wanted from us – being that we were a collection of materialistic cocksucking blue collar racists who I remember trifled with some wives and beat others… but that’s a David Sedaris radio show topic…. not a doomer’s blog….
The pools of our neighbors stank of chemicals. Perhaps worse than fluoride, these chemicals burned my eyes if I swam too long. Back then fathers took care of the pools, and we kids knew not every father was created equal, not every father knew how to get the fucking PH right. We knew which fathers to avoid. We would go to the beach which, on the north shore of the island smelled like an outhouse when the tide was out, and on the south side smelled like a toilet at all times. This was back before we got environmental, started making laws, before the huge trash continent had even thought about forming…. Water was all around us. It also came out of the tap. We kiddies were part of the last generation to drink from a garden hose. Unthinking, we even drank the rain water as it came down. We washed the car, washed our bikes, watered the lawn (we never used chemicals as we could not afford them, so it was more like water the weeds), gave water to the pony, the goats, the dogs, cats, washed said animals, had water balloon fights, and otherwise wasted the stuff. When the water meter man came, we kiddies didn’t even think about it. It was also the smallest bill among the bills my mother worried about. I wish I had that water now. The sprinklers came on at 4 PM and at 6AM all summer in the houses around us, that is the working slobs rich enough to install that symbol of status, of attainment of the American Suburban Dream, the fucking sprinkler watering an unwavering carpet of Chemlawn.
When my family moved, our relationship with water changed, drastically. We moved to the countryside. We no longer enjoyed municipal water, but relied on a well. This well went down (and remains to this day) 50 feet. Also, to make matters more complex, the local Native American gent had bought a house that had attached to it a former gas station. Seems that as one more fuck you in the trail of broken treaties, the seller had not properly emptied the tanks nor filled them with enough sand. The tanks had ruptured, leaking gas into the water supply of the village and created a health problem I am sure to this day I will soon have to face. That is, except that we did not always get exposure to the water since it ran out usually around April or May and certainly was non-existent by July and would not again appear until late October or perhaps even as late as November, depending on the jet stream and other factors still bewildering to me. The most we went without water was six months. We gathered rain water to flush the toilet (which got flushed at least one every two days), bathwater (once a week baths, just like Old Europe), and water for cooking and drinking was obtained from a spring that ran freely and has since been tapped as a “health hazard” since people were getting free hundred year old water from a deep aquifer and paying nothing to Coke and Pepsi and Poland Springs. This was a strange drought we lived with, since the river was but a half mile away, but as I said, these days were before environmentalism. My grandmother’s house was not far away from us. Her water came directly from the river. It stunk and left a strange stain in the toilet as if someone had a bowel infection and was leaking orange goo. The river was poisoned by some factory or other, as a kid I did not know what, but I did know that we were not allowed to swim in the shit. When we did, it was in secret. This was just when the first Asian crab grass was starting to grow, some Chinese chestnuts or shit like that. We had algae (which I now find out is a bacteria and perhaps more toxic than the PCBs we kiddies were warned about), what we called sea weed (again, what the hell was that crap), and the trash that every water carried from storm drains and disposal centers.
As I got older, my relationship with water changed again. I worked at a place I could freely take a nice long, hot, shower. I would just let the water run, wondering just how many gallons were passing over me, seeing how I was used to washing in a bucket from water I dragged from some hole. I was encouraged to flush the toilet, despite that even for pee it was still 2.5 gallons or so per piss. I worked in food service and we used obscene amounts of water. Washing, rinsing, washing things that weren’t even dirty just because it may have come into contact with something that dropped on the floor for a split second. I finally got in to college, the water was hotter and the pressure even greater. While there were those times pissing out the window was far easier than making the long trek to the bathroom down the hall, it was not to save water. I don’t think I saved one drop of water for those years. I also think I was the only kid in my class who grew up flushing the toilet at home with a bucket. Me and this other kid. But, he was a Nigerian prince, so I think he had the whole “prince” thing and the servants to compensate for the whole Third World Shithole side of life.
When I moved to a city and again having municipal water, for some time I let my landlords worry about fees and sundry other rising costs of this compound we so require for every day of our lives, for our very existence and yet empty our bowels and cast all sorts of creative chemicals into as if this substance would never again be required by us…. My work strangely brought me back up to the country, this time even further into the hills, to the very place the city water came from. This man made lake was the center of an underground economy, and a silent war. The locals were still pissed that several generations ago towns had been submerged so the City People could have Their Water. The City People didn’t like the Red Necks because they were Red Necks who opposed any expansion of the lake and felt entitled to not pay taxes as part of a historic agreement betwixt the Original Red Necks (ORN) and Original City People (OCP) who built this whole network of waterways in order to quench the thirst of the city and give the teeming greater unwashed masses of asses something to blast diarrhea into. And son of a bitch, if I wasn’t caught up in the middle of this with my work since I was [for many reasons too complex for this venue] stuck between the anti-tax crowd and the anti non-city person crowd, many of whom drew quite a salary in order to police or otherwise tend this contentious puddle in the woods.
Again in the city, I am older and now a landlord so I pay for the high price of our current water. My place is in Fort Mudge, a small village next to the river, and with water that smells like bleach when it doesn’t smell like sulfates. The pipe coming into my building is lead. Most of the water pipes in the village are over an hundred years and no one wants to pay for their replacement, the cost of which rise with each passing year. The water we no longer drink from hoses, but from countless plastic bottles and jugs. The waters of the beaches and rivers has improved here, however, we seem to have displaced our sins to those reaches of the rapidly vanishing wilds we use as a trash tip, strip mine, or otherwise abuse. The trip to the local beach this blogger made with a few friends was to a place called Dead Horse Bay. As the name may sound, nothing good has happened on that tainted and evil land for generations. From the glue factories and fish rendering plants, to the trash heap that one fine winter morning, belched vast quantities of rubbish, the land is cursed by our contact with it, the beach littered with countless shards of glass so that the lapping waves result in a wind chime, a sickening tinkling of so many small chunks of glass as to be both magical, and revolting.
And now, I will end my temporary meditation on this, and other elements. I am not sure what I have accomplished in revisiting my personal history in such a way, and I am half tempted to say I either wasted some time with long rants about personal experiences or that my expositions and musing were none but surface wanderings, a very cursive and scant pass over a much larger subject, as we all may need to reflect on those elements identified by our ancestors and so typically overlooked in our daily lives as we scramble to pay our bills, fret about Dancing With The Stars, or otherwise are preoccupied with thoughts other than isolating those building blocks of life and asking, what has become of these formerly noble elements we squander on a daily basis. I think I have gotten something out of reflecting on my life in these terms. I wonder what stories you may have, were you to tell your own life one element at a time.
I looked upon the rotting sea
And drew my eyes away – Coleridge