Lemon County: TeaHydration...
Lemon County is a desert. Technically, it is coastal semi-arid, but no matter what, water is a giant big deal. Water is expensive and a precious resource, so, it is squandered with impunity. It is, apparently, very important that we deny the obvious, and recreate a lush version of Eden to live in.
The perfect Lemon County locale has an uninterrupted view of the Pacific Ocean, enhanced by an infinity edged pool that appears to seamlessly flow into said ocean. A small waterfall rippling over some beautifully arranged non-native rocks, tumbling into the Jacuzzi and then finally spilling over into the pool, completes the illusion.
The illusion that we are awash in plenty…
The blue needs to be offset by verdant green grass that needs about as much water as a marsh, and pristine (i.e. washed) paving. More water is evaporated from these personal paradises than from a medium sized lake. But are we done yet? I think not.
I have visited some truly magnificent homes, where their back yards sport “outdoor living areas.” (Isn’t anywhere you are, a living area?) The patio needs to be comfortable for people wearing inappropriate clothing so it is heated in the chill of the evenings by gas heaters or in-ground fire pits, and cooled during the heat of the day with mister systems. More water, please…
It is also important for Lemonillos to remain hydrated themselves. Thus the ubiquitous bottles of water carried by everyone. Spring water, flown in from Fiji, or France (well, New Jersey, actually), or anywhere far away and exotic, is of course better than anything local.
Now, all this water, if not evaporating in the desert heat, has to go somewhere. I suspect that Lemon County inhabitants may have the hardest working kidneys in America. We must produce extraordinarily large amounts of pee, which we send on its way with a quick flush or two, using even more of the precious aqua.
All this, lets call it grey water, eventually makes its way to water treatment plants (that must not be seen, or smelled), where a tiny proportion is recycled and used to keep the freeway medians green. The rest flows out to the Pacific Ocean for the people to surf and swim in.
And where does all this lovely wet stuff come from? Not Lemon County, that’s for sure. Like everything we love and value, we import it. We suck water out of the ground and the Colorado River and steal it from Northern California. If you want to see a normally calm and sane Northern Californian go completely off it, just talk to him about water. The laws on water use in the north of the state are famously draconian. I believe the average home in San Francisco is allowed two thimblefuls a week. You are not allowed to wash your Toyota Prius, ever, but licking your car, a la our feline friends, is sort of frowned upon. Every drop of water is collected and used and reused until it is officially mud. Then you add it to the compost heap.
It is one of life’s naughty pleasures, watching northerners explode as they drive through Lemon County on the way to Mexico. The sight of the freeway medians being watered during one of our rainy days will do that to them. Waste? No way. Who can live with brown litter-strewn vistas? Green litter-strewn vistas are so much nicer, dude.
The restaurants don’t help much. The norm is to make sure you have a glass of water on the table as soon as you sit down. One or two Mexicans are employed by every restaurant for the sole purpose of hydrating you. Then, the waiter arrives and asks if you would like a drink. If you say, “Water is fine, thanks,” you will get another glass of water. The hydrators prowl around the restaurant refilling your water glass after every sip, ensuring that after you have downed a gallon or so, you leave with a full glass on the table.
There is however a greater problem. My body is genetically programmed to accept the two-hydrogen-and-one-oxygen-molecule combo, in very specific forms.
Beer, of course, is a great way to get liquid into the system, but not the ‘popsicle beer’ style of beer that is served frozen, in a can designed to keep it cool, type of beer, that America seems to love. I grew up with beer that was still alive, fermenting its very way into your mouth. Warm, well English room temperature (which is cold, just ask my wife), will do nicely. But beer is second to the most vital liquid on planet Earth.
This elixir of the Gods is what sustains my people. Now, my friends in America, this is not the bottled stuff, or iced stuff. That’s just tea-ish. It also does not include anything with lemons or honey, or (oh, the humanity…) herbal tea (pronounced ‘erbal’ due to all the letter ‘H’ being mysteriously silent in this one instance.)
No I mean tea. Mug. Milk. Two sugars. Typhoo or PG Tips. That kind of tea. Dump a bag in the mug, boiling water on top, wait a bit, squeeze the bag against the side with your spoon, and Bob’s your Uncle. Admittedly, this is sometimes a little too wet, so to drink tea properly, you need a packet of McVites Digestive or Hobnob biscuits to hand. Dunking is fine, but then you need to scoop out the delicious goo at the bottom when you are done.
This is different from the dainty teacup, Earl Grey, type of experience. The bigger the mug, the better, the browner the brew, the better, type of tea, is what runs through our Anglo veins like lifeblood. My day starts with a quart or so, and is topped up every fifteen minutes or thereabouts, so that I can operate at my optimal performance level. Doing this from birth has helped us develop muscular bladders second to none, fought cancer, and stained our teeth a wonderful mahogany color. If we knew what free radicals were, we’d love our tea even more.
And living out here in our lush desert oasis, I have to be careful and stay topped up with tea, lest I become seriously teahydrated…
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