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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Little girl in a big city

For many people teetering back and forth over the poverty line like a tightrope artist attempting to cross the Hoover Dam, all it takes is a little push to land face first in some very deep water. In the case of many of my fellow Corkonian recessionistas, our Hoover Dam is a similarly large body of water seeping into our houses and cars, but unfortunately not out of our taps.
Never before has the phrase 'water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink' had quite as much personal resonance as it has over the past week.

One friend has seen his car swept away by a deluge on Western Road. Many more are facing tough decisions on what to do with the little remaining water they have. A pattern emerges. Men pour little reserves into toilet cisterns for admirably practical reasons. Women use their kettle dregs to wash their hair - a no less practical use.

One of the toughest things about being the proverbial little girl in the big city is the sense of helplessness that can attack like an unfriendly doberman pinscher at the most inconvenient of moments. I was reminded of this unfortunate fact of life this week. My house has no water and it is structured as such that I also cannot put on the the heating. I'm freezing, I'm thirsty and I'm very, very dirty. I can avail of the free water at various points dotted around the city, but the only available transport I can think of has yet to recover from it's brisk dip in the Lee. Coming home from a heavily subsidised session at the local pub, I was beset with a particularly distressing dilemma. Should I drink my last pint of water to avoid the fast approaching hangover, or should I use it to prevent five days of continuous make up application from setting on my face like a crumbling Renaissance fresco? I awoke the next day wish a sparkling clean visage and a tongue that had apparently been replaced with a damp sheepskin rug in the middle of the night. Milk can be such a poor substitute. In retrospect I should have done a Cleopatra instead and hydrated myself properly while bathing in the milk. I always thought that I had a problem with money running through my fingers. Now it's just an effort to get water to run through them.