Sometime around mid-afternoon yesterday, someone ran their car into a fire hydrant in our neighbourhood. Not only was the fire hydrant wrenched from its mooring, flooding the street, but the pipe leading to the hydrant was yanked and twisted to such an extent that it buckled a good chunk of the street.
I don’t know how this happened. Middle of the day, residential area, bright yellow fire hydrant well out of the way of the usual traffic. Something like that can’t be good for your car. I assume no one was killed or seriously injured or there would have been some media hysteria about it – no doubt calling for the immediate ban of fire hydrants across the country.
Anyway, the important part of this story is that the neighbourhood was without water for a good 12 hours yesterday.
Now, I have a pretty small carbon footprint. I believe it’s around .7, meaning if everyone lived like me we’d only need point seven earths to sustain us. However, I will confess to being a water hog. My carbon footprint would probably only be .1 or something if it weren’t for my massive consumption of water.
I wash my hands about 500 times a day; brush my teeth 5 or 6 times a day; usually have 2 showers every day (though I only shower with warm, not hot, water). I wash the hell out of our fruits and vegetables. I do dishes twice a day (though by hand). I rinse everything thoroughly even when not instructed to. And I drink lots of water.
I love water.
So, it was a really tough evening yesterday. They rigged up a community watering hole via a big hose tied to a tree. People lined up with buckets to fetch water. I got to meet a lot of neighbours, but everyone was really cranky. I tried to lead a short class on how to carry buckets of water on your head to lend some primitive authenticity to the process, but our heads were all too pointy.
It’s amazing how dependant we are on water. We really can’t do much of anything without it. I survived 10 days without electricity after Hurricane Juan with a good part of my mind still intact, but I was seriously on the edge last night without water. (Let’s not even talk about the kid whining that she had to have heated up soup from the freezer for supper instead of the usual “real” supper she’s come to expect).
- One in 5 people in the world has no access to safe drinking water.
- Each person in North America uses 1,280,000 litres of water per year.
- Europe: 694,000
- Asia – 535,000
- South America – 311,000
- Africa – 186,000
So anyway the City of Ottawa guys were there until almost 2:00 am — jackhammering; digging a really big hole with their yellow hole digger thingy; and shouting a lot. I must give them credit for working their asses off to get the problem fixed as quickly as possible. In the whole 12 hours they were there I only noticed complete inactivity around suppertime for about 20 minutes while they wolfed down some grub.
Of course the Big Hole and resultant Big Pile of Dirt brought out the construction site groupies – old guys in trucker hats – standing around gazing down into the Big Hole and swapping stories of other Big Holes they’ve been part of. I checked with them every once in a while to see when they thought the water would be back on. They were pretty accurate.
I’ll tell ya what though – if you’re a middle-aged or elderly chickie looking to attract a gruff old guy with an infinite knowledge of sideline construction, get yourself a Big Hole (shut up) and/or a Big Pile of Dirt.
Meanwhile, I had to go to bed feeling grubby and without having had my evening salad. Can you imagine? Combined with the intensely noisy digging activity, sleep was pretty much impossible. But then, in the wee hours of the morning, in my half-dozed state, the world outside my window got quiet again. I peeked out. Everyone was gone. I ran to the bathroom, had a quick shower, flushed the toilets, changed the sheets and tried to sleep for a couple of hours.
That didn’t work out, so I got up to blog about it.
I still can’t figure out how someone could run into a fire hydrant.