Water II

Because I’m spacey and forgot important things. And also because March 22 is World Water Day.

Here’s a song called “The Water” by Johnny Flynn. It’s in the French movie Un Amour de Jeunesse (Goodbye First Love, actually a better title). You can listen to it while you read.

Oddly, pools terrified me when I was little. I also hated sitting in the grass, go figure, but I think I’m allergic to some kinds of grass. One of the drawbacks of having an overactive imagination is being afraid of lots of silly things. I’m pretty sure my imagination is part of the reason I worry so much now as the adult-ish person I am.

But anyway, as much as I love it now, I was terrified of water in large quantities when I was younger. In first grade, my parents, brother, and I went to Lakeside over labor day weekend. Lakeside is a pool in Louisville that’s been fashioned from an old quarry/lake, so in some sections it’s actually just the old lake. ( To 6 year old me, the 3 or 4 foot water looked drown-able, even though I should have been tall enough to be fine. I just stayed on the center of the raft that my parents’ friend had.

Of course some teenager (or just a normal bigger kid that wasn’t a scardy cat) jumped on the raft and turned it over. I was convinced I’d almost drowned. I don’t know if my mom still has this somewhere, but when Ms. Bullock had us write a journal entry on our weekend, I said that I almost died and drew and colored a picture of me under the water. Of course, I was never in any danger. My dad pulled me up almost as soon as I’d gone under.

I have no idea how much later it was when that lifeguard got me over my (deep water) hydrophobia. I thought I was 7, but I think there was a summer where I refused to get in “the big kid pool.” So it must have been a month or so before my birthday.

My parents had signed all four of us up for swim lessons. I refused to leave the wall. I was too scared to jump in. I feel so ridiculous thinking back on it. But you can’t rationalize the fears of a child. After two or so days of our lessons, the lifeguard/teacher took me to the middle of the pool and showed me I could touch the bottom, and going underwater wasn’t scary.

It must have taken an extraordinary amount of patience. Our babysitter of the time said I climbed on top of the poor girl. But after that day, I wasn’t afraid anymore. I learned to swim in no time and soon was on the swim team. Although I’m not really sure I liked swim team; I’ve never been particularly competitive and Im not good at incorporating breathing into exercise.

It’s pretty amazing the difference one person can make just by being patient.

I don’t think I’m that patient, but I probably should be.

Bellarmine requires students to take a seminar every year, officially called an Interdisciplinary Course (IDC). There are a lot of things that could go wrong with these, but I loved 2 out of 4 and one was alright. Sophomore and Senior year my IDC was on the environment. Sophomore year’s was taught by an elementary ed professor who had a sort of hippie-elementary school approach to the class. This was the “alright” class, if you hadn’t guessed. While I learned some things, (and personally enjoyed the painting, paper-making, field trips, and dash of creative writing), I knew the Senior IDC would be completely different. Her approach worked much better overall, and even though we didn’t paint, she pushed everyone to think critically and back up their opinions with facts even if she agreed. That was probably better for my education. She’s an artist, so there’s a connection between the two professors I just thought of.

Anyway, in both of those classes, my final paper was on water. The first, on my mother’s project, because in theory getting already cleaner water means spending less on the purification process. She hadn’t won anything on it at that point, so no one knew anything about it. (Although, at least in this area, if you type “riverbank filtration” into google, my mum’s name comes up.) The second one was on water harvesting and purification methods, so basically ways people in third world countries could get water without getting their water privatized by Europe. (By the way, if I’m in France and have to buy bottled water, I refuse to buy Vittel if there’s another option for this reason.)

In my translation class this semester, we have to lead a translating workshop on a document of our choice. We had to pick our topics by the second or third day of classes, and I ended up picking the water situation in Haiti or Northern Africa.

Through the past two academic experiences and my father, I found out that there’s a non-profit that does water work in third world countries. My dad signed up to go to Haiti right after the earthquake, but then they stopped letting people go because of cholera, ironically a waterborne illness.

So, I now I have another unattainable-without-another-career career idea. (The first is writing fiction.) I want to help people get water! It kind of makes sense with all this water knowledge surrounding me…

I have no idea if other people ever get the feeling they’re “supposed” to do something, but I do on occasion. I’m making my own path, but I’m following the natural gaps in the forest instead of taking a machete to it. I think forests prefer that, even metaphorical ones.

I can’t imagine a life without water, or even one with severly limited water. I’m always thirsty. I’m constantly drinking water. I wake up at least once a week with a dehydration headache that has nothing to do with alcohol and everything to do with not drinking enough water the day before. I joke that I’m a rainforest plant. Seth jokes that he’s a water-y person who needs someone earthy to hold him together. There’s your sappy metaphor for the day. Of course, I wanted to write about water in a literary fairy way, but I decided that sort of half-fiction is not fit for a personal narrative.

So, I know people who live with less water adapt and all, but if I can help the other thirsty people/ people with water that makes all of them sick, it sounds like a good idea.

I’m going to get a glass of water. Yum.


EDIT: For any science-y people (or anyone interested), a 14 year old  girl has done a pretty cool experiment that may actually solve the water crisis.




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