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03 May 2010 @ 07:33 am
boil this  
Since normally, when I'm in situations where I have to boil my drinking water, I'm either camping or traveling, the current boil order for water where I live is strangely luxurious. I don't have to do it on a tiny camp stove! I'm not staying in a rickety hotel that doesn't even appear to HAVE a stove! I have lots of vessels in which to boil water and then store it! I'm grateful that in all of this, we still have water coming to our homes, and that outflow is working normally, too. So it feels like a bit of a lark, actually, and I'm enjoying it. I'm glad, though, that it sounds like the repairs are going to be a matter of days rather than weeks, because the fun would probably eventually pall.

On the other hand, it's odd to try to reset my thinking about water to apply to things here. When I'm traveling in Central America, I'm used to thinking of any uncooked food that's wet as suspicious. Lettuce is pretty much always right out. But I'm not used to thinking that here! I'm less likely to accidentally drink a glass of unboiled water and more likely to accidentally wash some vegetables without thinking about it.

It'll make me really happy if this event gets more people thinking about water in the world, though, and that seems to be happening, so that's great. And it'll also make me happy if it gets more people thinking about our own infrastructure. The scariest class I took in grad school was exploring the current state of the major infrastructure systems in the US. They're pretty much all a disaster, and no one really knows where the money is going to come from to fix them. I feel internally conflicted about the fact that a big problem like this one (or, for example, the bridge collapse in Minnesota in 2007) makes it a lot more likely that money will get directed toward shoring up the system. And since this is a problem not only in eastern MA, but in many other places (like bridges were and continue to be), this is a pretty broad good. Of course, then I have to wonder where the money's going to come from to fix it; I fear we're in for a rough few years as our lack of investment on this sort of thing comes home to ... uh, burst pipes.
funner'n a sack a weaselsmoominmolly on May 3rd, 2010 02:33 pm (UTC)
It's all really interesting to watch unfold. I admit I'm also happy about the number of people who now think about *where their water comes from*, physically. But it's also terrifying.
unintentional baitredheadedmuse on May 3rd, 2010 03:21 pm (UTC)
This is by far the most thoughtful post I've read on this topic, and said most of what I wanted to say. My family has been (mostly) treating this like a gift; a kind of forced spiritual exercise in understanding the preciousness of water, and the luxury we enjoy having it flow from our taps every day. The fact that having to boil it before drinking is a) unusual and b) easy for us is really highlighting how luxurious our living conditions are.
kinesthetic chutzpahdilletante on May 3rd, 2010 04:50 pm (UTC)
i was also enjoying the luxury of it. :) thinking, well, i could toss some iodine tablets in some bottles... or just boil a huge pot of water and leave it on the stove! why not?
born from jets!!!catness on May 3rd, 2010 07:01 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I really like how this illustrates how much water we *waste* just in our daily lives, because it's plentiful and comes to us by "magic". When I was rinsing out the cat's water bowl this morning with yesterday's boiled water, I spilled a bunch of it and was all OH NO THAT'S USEFUL WATER. Living by the (also almost magical) potful is really useful as a wake-up call.
crouchback on May 3rd, 2010 11:00 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it's great to see us try to do infrastructure projects in other countries-we can't even keep our own infrastructure up, but we've got the money to do it elsewhere.

It's extra funny when we try to do the same project all over again, and we couldn't get it right in the days when we did keep our infrastructure up.

I expect our infrastructure will, in ten years, look a lot like the former USSR's looked in the 1990s.

Edited at 2010-05-03 11:04 pm (UTC)