Saturday, February 1, 2014

Water With Personality

Jo Ann Law McGrath

From the Stone Soup Collection
The Long Island Advance, 1979


We have well water.

If you don't, you may miss the colorful implications of that statement.

It means we have orange sinks, tubs and toilets. It means that my dishes, tableware and cooking utensils have fascinating watermarks that vaguely resemble the patterns left on a sandy beach by a receding high tide.

It means that after boiling spaghetti for nine minutes it comes out of the pot a strange shade of mauve that clashes with my marinara sauce.

Our water has lots of body. It also has an unmistakeable odor that I once considered fragrant. As a city-bound youngster, trips to the country were pleasurable and the smell and taste of rural water always had happy associations for me.

The smell of OUR water is so strong that it should have the capacity to make me delirious with joy. But it's such a STEADY heady thing that it has lost some of its charm.

A couple of years ago, we decided anything as benign as water perhaps shouldn't smell so evil, so we had it tested. It was deemed perfectly potable but, just as we had suspected, it contained enough minerals for us to start a mining operation. Unfortunately, the only thing we mine is rust.

As a result, we have an unwilling one-millionth interest in a company that makes a dandy little product called Zud.

Zud is designed to removed rust. It also removes my nail polish and, if applied with enthusiasm, my nails, as well.

It's a minor pun unless and until we discover that our minerals come to us through the courtesy of man-made objects left at the landfill and pluming their way toward our well, we'll live with our water.

The option is to have water than smells like chlorine. "They" tell us that chlorine is perfectly safe, and it probably is. But "they" also say that Tang is a good thing to drink and, according to the astronauts, it probably is.

But Tang is what we run through the dishwasher to remove the rust we can't reach. Somehow, it never occurs to me to drink it.


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