My Own Private Water
The water fountains in Tabor Park are notoriously unreliable. I never know when they’ll be working, which is frustrating. Lately, the fountain by the visitor center bathrooms seems to be the only one that consistently flows, so I refill my water bottle there.
But the thought arises (especially given that we are still in the COVID era): Is this really sanitary? EVERYONE must drink from this fountain, including homeless people, and children who might press their lips against the spout, and careless people who don’t wash their hands and might even TOUCH the spout, etc.
I realize that I quite naturally assume that the water which comes out of my tap at home is at least a little bit “cleaner” (whatever that means). On the one hand, I know every home in my neighborhood receives its water from the same source (wherever that is – I forget), though of course it gets delivered to me through MY house pipes so that makes it somewhat unique, I guess, from what my neighbor is drinking.
But then I also run the tap water into my Brita filter pitcher before drinking it. Once I have filtered it thusly, then it’s really MY OWN WATER! My own private water. As opposed to, say, the communal petri-dish fluid that flows from the fountain next to the park bathrooms.
Too Much Protection
We are all so hyper aware of germs these days, but actually we have been a sanitation-obsessed society for as long as I can remember. Possibly for good reason, but we have taken it to insane extremes.
Consider plastic wrapping. Very few new things DON’T come wrapped in plastic nowadays. Even if I just want to buy a single pre-rolled joint at my local dispensary, it always comes in a hard little plastic throwaway tube. (So I don’t buy single pre-rolls, for that reason.) Even most greeting cards come sealed in transparent plastic – protecting them from what? Random dirt? (Heaven forbid!) Other people’s fingertips? Maybe. Ah, but then – who touched those greeting cards BEFORE they were encased in plastic, eh?
And audio CDs! I’m old school and still buy them now and again. With few exceptions, music CDs are set in little plastic folding cases. But on top of THAT there is also a transparent plastic film that you have to break open (and then throw away) before even accessing the CD case. I guess the plastic film is put there to guard against random fingerprints on the rigid plastic case.
How did we, collectively, evolve this purity fetish? In a way, I think, our sexual attitudes have loosened and liberalized a lot since I was a kid. For example, no one I know specifically wants to marry a virgin. Yet most of us reflexively prefer the products and commodities we buy to be “virgin.” Secondhand shoppers are a minority.
Meanwhile, out in our Mother Ocean, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch stretches from California to Hawaii and from Hawaii to Japan, littering 620 thousand square miles with various plastic particles, including plastic produce bags, packing materials, toothbrushes, fragments of plastic lighters and water bottles, and all kinds of crap. Over 2.5 MILLION TONS of plastic, and growing every day. Outweighing the ocean plankton by about six to one. Wreaking mayhem on marine life and ecosystems on a scale that’s truly difficult to conceive.
So what’s all this plastic protecting us from again?
Maybe it’s the plastic itself that we need protection FROM. Even more so than from germs, because plastic is choking our planetary life support systems to death.
And on Another Cheery Note …
… like most of you, I’ve been thinking about Vladimir Putin. I’ve watched some documentaries on youtube. All biographical stuff about Putin always starts with him as a young dedicated KGB operative in Berlin at the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Nothing about his childhood.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying we should have compassion for the guy. I certainly don’t. (I mean, I’m not saying you SHOULDN’T either – just acknowledging that there are no “shoulds” when it comes to what we feel.) I’d be glad if someone shot him, sooner than later.
But I spent a couple of hours the other day with a five-month-old baby boy. He smiled a lot because he gets a lot of love. When he’s “fussy,” he gets fed or held or rocked or walked around or sung to or diaper-changed. The people in his life talk to him, meet his eyes, relate to him as a fully conscious being. He already has a very sweet personality that’s all his own.
And the thought did occur to me that, given this foundation, he’ll probably never grow a heart of stone like Vladimir Putin. And I doubt Putin would have either, had he been given this level of love and reflection when he was utterly vulnerable and open, as all babies are.
These days, I’d still like to see him dead though.