Source: Sherman Publications

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Gabrielís Gripes

February 22, 2012

It really is "the little things in life" that you never notice until they're gone.

This may go without saying, but on the morning of Monday Feb. 20, I found out what it might have been like to live before a pressurized plumbing system was invented.

Waking to the morning is a regimental process for me - I need certain things in a certain order and when it doesn't happen, it can throw off the cadence of the entire day. As it happens, I love starting my day with a shower, washing off the mysterious sleep grime and alerting myself to the waking world with a splash of water to face. I live in Rochester, somewhat notorious for its occasionally dirty brown rusty water. Some mornings can be quite an adventure as I judge how clear the water must be before taking a shower which will actually make me cleaner.

Thankfully, this was not one such morning - at least not for long. No, this morning brought with it a much more serious plumbing-born demon: the evil of no hot water.

I stood there feeling the slightly brown water for any hint of warmth, growing ever more worried as my hand slowly turned blue. Time was wasting. It's "time-for-a-new-work-week" Monday and my finely tuned morning was in disarray. Testing both taps, I discovered, much to my surprise, the cold faucet produced somewhat lukewarm water.

Leaving the water running, in hopes this would somehow summon the shower I craved, I scurried back to the kitchen to make a quick breakfast of English muffins, apples and avocado (fancy I know.) I was pouring a cup of tea when I realized the ability to make hot water was staring me in the face all along - the kettle! I scarfed down the food and set about making a wash basin, w riod movies.

I must attest, the experience was better than expected. Colder, certainly.

Awkward of course and naturally cumbersome in comparison to the modern lavation stall, but adequate considering the circumstances. Still I would not trade the two.

To me, this experience joins power outages, car breakdowns, dry mobile phone batteries as reminders to today's world how good we have it. Even something as simple as a missing shower has the potential to set someone in a foul mood for the rest of the day. I'll admit it almost ruined mine.

But finding a jury-rigged solution almost improved the entire situation. There's something about finding a fix to a spontaneous problem that reminds me why mankind is such a successful species - accumulated knowledge and resourcefulness. Instead of starting my day out frozen or late, I used what I knew about Elizabethan Era hygiene and applied it to contemporary appliances. A small victory is still a victory and as unremarkable as my early morning achievement may be, I find it's still indicative of low functioning human ingenuity.

I may not know how to hunt well, start a fire quickly or defend myself with a weapon, but I bet I could figure it out.

hich is a tool I've only before seen in period movies.

I must attest, the experience was better than expected. Colder, certainly.