It’s Elementary: Hot Water and Civilization

11 May

Civilization is founded on hot water from hot water tanks. Cold water is a characteristic of  lesser cultures. Yes I know that such a comment in a post-colonial world is politically incorrect but cold water sucks, or freezes, or chills. Cold, very cold, libido-deadening showers make wimps of us all.

Elementary. The lower element.

Elementary. The lower element.

Recently our electric hot water tank tank totally conked out. The bottom element had departed into some alternate universe a long time ago and far, far away. We somehow managed to survive on half a 60-gallon tank for several months. Why, you ask, would we live in this less than civilized state? The short, and the long, answer is I couldn’t get the stupid bottom element out. Corrosion remained supreme. Water remained lukewarm. Body odours bloomed like the bouquet of a septic tank. This last is, however, useful for clearing out long lines at the supermarket checkout.

Sludge From The Bottom Of The Water Tank

Sludge From The Bottom Of The Water Tank

Decision time: new tank or repair old. Mr. C, our local furnace repair man, whom we trust, by the way, gave us an estimate of  $1100 plus tax to replace. S-S in her most beguiling way whined for an alternative. Fortunately, Mr. C, gentleman that he is – or he just wanted to get out of the bouquet of our closely confined presence – installed a new thermostat and let me borrow his professional, manly, steroid-sized wrench. The satisfying grinding and crunching as the element now loosened from its corroded base was a sound that only a guy can appreciate. Such a virile sound, such a testosterone sound. Also, scoops of sludge debris from the tank bottom were not the thrill of  a treasure hunt but necessary.

Dreams of steaming hot water ran through my head: showers, hot tubs. Thoughts of a mere $120 dollar bill adding to the masculinity, the potency of finally conquering obstinate corrosion and scooping at a lesser price. We would become civilized once more and only a little impoverished. A new element installed, the water tank refilled, I relaxed listening to the humming, burbling and gurgling of  frigid aquifer-water becoming  a soothing balm. Then S-S told me to quit daydreaming, get off my duff and take a shower, stat! How short the victory! How long the supermarket lineups again! Civilization has its costs.

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