Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Water Washout

At the end of last year I started to see a life coach.  I only saw him about half a dozen times, just to iron out a few chinks in my armour, but it was certainly a valuable experience.  One thing he helped me with was my guilt.  After explaining how it gnawed away at me like a hyperactive rodent, he enquired,
“Are you by any chance a Catholic?”
If I was, it would explain a thing or two.  But I’m not.  And, whenever there is an opportunity to feel bad about something, I grab it with both hands.  Take “green guilt” for example.  I feel shamed if I have to take a carrier bag at the local supermarket and lose sleep if I discard an empty Coke can or exhausted newspaper in a general waste bin.  And despite my coach’s attempts to put my feelings of guilt into perspective, it has recently got worse.  You see, I now have “drought guilt.”  I kid you not, but after my Saturday morning ritual in the bath, cleaning, laundry, hand washing and mopping, I don’t think I could have felt much worse that if I’d just kicked a malnourished puppy.
So, on Monday I sought redemption.  A week after moving to a new office at work, I walked into the ladies to see one of the taps running freely once more.  With a tut I twisted it off and marched back to my desk to call building maintenance and demanded that it be fixed at once.  Two days later, the problem has not gone away.  I think back to the total number of minutes that I had water running over the weekend and calculate for how many hours that tap has been spurting out London’s most valuable commodity du jour, and – you know what?  I get bloody angry. 
Let’s face it, big businesses and corporations waste gallons of H20 every nano-second – probably because they can afford our steep water rates, which I am sure will go up if we get to the point of actually buying water from our better-stocked neighbours.  Which reminds me – what on earth has happened to the world when a natural and necessary substance such as water is traded this way?  I’m sorry, but it just seems, well, wrong.  I mean, are we going to start tanking it over to sub-Saharan Africa and sell it to them too?  My mind boggles.
Of course, this would bother me less if the sun was shining and it hadn’t been absolutely chucking it down for what feels like an eternity.  And now, of course, we see that some parts of the country are at risk of flooding.  Yes, I know that this extreme weather is down to global warming etc etc (and yes I do feel like my recent flight to Budapest is single-handedly to blame for these recent conditions) and that when rain falls so quickly it is less easy for us to harvest, but surely, in this day and age, we have the engineering and technical know-how to do so – and pipe it from one end of the country to another?  Come on people, the UK isn’t that big.  Surely this is possible – and a worthwhile investment? 
Sadly, as much as I rant, I know that I shall still feel guilty if I linger under the shower for too long in the morning.  But, as I arrive at my bus stop, already sodden from a misjudged puddle or inconsiderate driver, I shall remain more than a little pissed off that, for some inconceivable reason, we still have a water shortage – and the powers that be have yet to figure out how to balance this contradiction.

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