I turned on the tap. There was only a faint
hissing sound emanating from the pipe.
Oh no! I exclaimed.
Not again, not on this very day of all days when I expect visitors.
I won’t be able to cook the dinner, or make coffee, never
mind have a wash and shave or flush the toilet before my visitors
I stamped my foot on
the ground and started to swear, using some F-words, the sound
blending in well with the hissing of the water pipe.
This time I would lodge
a complaint with the people responsible for these recurrent inconveniences.
I always pay my rates in time and in full and was I therefore
not entitled to a full service? After all, we are not living in
a third world country, are we?
Third world! I thought
of all the people there who do not have a water service at all.
Damn it! They don’t pay any rates either for a non-existing
service, like I do. I started to swear again.
I would now have to
go to the well a mile down the road to get some water. I picked
up a bucket. It was raining outside.
A few yards down the
road I passed a couple of potholes, filled with water. I put down
the bucket and stared at the potholes. For a while I was tempted
to go back and get my shaving gear out and have a wash and shave
right here out on the road. The potholes were large enough to
hold a couple of gallons of water each.
The council people,
in their great wisdom and foresight had not filled in the holes
for a long time. I would write to them and thank them for not
filling the holes, in fact I would beg them never to fill in the
potholes. I reckoned, in another couple of weeks they would be
large enough for me to have a bath out on the road, and to hell
with the empty water pipes!
I don’t know how
long I had stood there gaping at my image mirrored in the water
of the pothole, for, in the meantime my bucket was already half
full with fresh rainwater, free of charge.
I thought again of those
poor people in the third world who had to walk for miles in the
blazing sun just to fill a jug of water.
I lifted up my head
and looked into the dark grey sky. Water flushed down my face
and trickled down my neck, precious water from the heavens. I
was as happy as a blackbird having an early morning dip.
Ah, we live in a grand
little place, I said to my dog. He lapped up some water from the
bucket and looked at me as if to ask: ‘Well, what’s
the fuss about?’
Taken from ‘Viewpoints’
(1995), pages 56-57.