Sunday, 11 May 2008

Futility

Once, our house had a beautiful garden. The previous owner had applied to great effect his skills as a landscape gardener, and both the front and back yards looked like something out of a toffy magazine. Of course, when we bought the house and it came time to pay our first water bill a few weeks later, we discovered he’d used a volume of water equivalent to that of the Amazon River to maintain this botanic delight, and, thanks to our substandard conveyancer, we had no choice but to pay the outrageously high bill and the higher charge per litre on all subsequent use, for having exceeded our entire year’s quota of water.

Now, we haven’t watered the garden for years, and what was once lavished with enough potable water to quench a small nation’s thirst, now parches under the harsh sun. I don’t mind, because in these times of indefinite drought, a brown lawn and a horticultural demonstration of Spencer’s survival of the fittest are somewhat of a badge of honour, the blood upon the lintel by which the Angel of Water Conservation knows to pass over your house and fall upon that of your lush-lawned neighbour with wrath and indignation.

Trying in other ways to save water, and thinking of farming families who have to share the same tub of gradually darkening water for their daily ablutions, I’ve repeatedly shivered through shampoo and exfoliating routines with the shower turned off, at the mercy of my bathroom fan which outstrips the pathetic efforts of the heat lamps to counter its chilling effect, heat lamps which, in defiance of all the physics I learnt at school, produce light but no discernible heat.

But sacrificing my warm, non-goose-pimpled flesh and my clean, frequently-flushed toilet bowl to do my bit for public dam levels has all been for naught, as we discovered not long ago when Mr. Lonie crawled under the house on some manly mission of home maintenance. He found a thin but steady fountain of water splashing up onto the floorboards of our bedroom, which had, over a length of time too horrifyingly long to bear thinking about, caused significant water damage thitherto undetected due to its unlucky positioning beneath the bed. Once the flurry over stopping the flow and moving furniture was over, we awaited the next water bill with trepidation.

It was bad. Very bad. Even worse was the mocking irony of the situation, for the source of the leak was the reticulated sprinkler system installed by – you guessed it! – the previous owner. As chagrined as I am by the cost, as mortified as I feel about the waste, I’m most upset that all my efforts at saving water have been rendered effectively useless.

F****** utility.

9 comments:

littlesnoring said...

The Horror. I hate that bit about life, where you try to the right thing and you get slapped in the face.

The injustice! I mean who in their right mind needs a reticulated sprinkler system anyway!

Lonie Polony said...

Hello littlesnoring - I think the days of the sprinkler system are long over. The plants that haven't died seem to be coping perfectly well without it.

p0nk said...

a couple years ago we had a leak under our house and we have a concrete slab foundation. We spent a couple weeks running back and forth to the street turning the water on and off, until we could get a plumbing contractor re-plumb our entire house. Fun times!

Lonie Polony said...

Hmm, that does sound fun, p0nk. Maybe you can do the re-wiring next ;)

p0nk said...

actually i did a lot of the rewiring myself recently. I'm a lot more comfortable with that than plumbing, I think because of the tools involved. Our house has been one big remodeling project. Thankfully I have teenage boys to help with the labor.

you've been tagged.

mutleythedog said...

Had you thought of growing cactii? They will grow if you just pop out once in a while and piss on them... well you could get your nice man to do that...

Lonie Polony said...

We actually do have a cactus, Mutley, which we seem to have inherited from the tenants we had while we lived interstate. It seems to be happy enough without the urine, though :)

jan said...

I live in a city in California where we are about to get our first water meters. I have a feeling that much will change here.

Lonie Polony said...

Australia is the driest inhabited continent on earth, Jan, so we're kind of used to it. We did love a good lawn though, and things have changed over the last couple of decades and even the last couple of years. You will survive! :)