Larry Banman – Given a choice between water and e-mail . . .
September 24, 2009
Within the past month, I have had the opportunity to experience life without e-mail and without, what some people call, “the facilities.” A technological glitch wiped out the e-mail and complications arising out of town water project wiped out water services to the town for the better part of a day.
I found out that my use of both e-mail and water is a vital part of my day. I always knew they were important, but I had the opportunity to discover how I had taken both for granted.
It may seem to some that the use of e-mail is superfluous. I will agree that some of my use could be classified as extraneous. I am not part of an official social network but I must admit that some of my e-mails probably don’t change the course of history. At work, however, e-mailing is a vital link in communication. It’s quick and has the advantage of leaving a record of what was communicated. It has become a very basic form of communication in both the personal and business world. In our office, adjustments were quickly made and I became reacquainted with devices known as the FAX machine and the telephone. The only real problem was wondering about the e-mails from people who anticipated that I was receiving and reading their valuable missives. In some cases, it was discovered, those e-mails bounced back to the sender but in other cases they were not returned. I can only assume that the sender of those messages must now think I am either careless or thoughtless.
All of Kremmling experienced the loss of water this past Tuesday. What was intended to be a simple connection of a water line turned into a day-long ordeal. This, it turns out, is big news. My sister in Kansas called me on Wednesday morning to ask about my well-being. I assured her that National Guard troops had just arrived in town and the looting and pillaging that normally follow these disasters would soon be curbed.
Back to reality, the town remains under a Health Department order to boil all water intended for drinking, but the water is flowing and, most importantly, the toilets are flushing. Bottled water and ice have been secured and, other than the inconvenience, life is back to normal in K-town. It is anticipated that the boil order will soon be lifted.
On Tuesday, people became creative in their search for “the facilities.” Various porta-potties in town were soon located (I wonder if that qualifies as theft of services). Friendships were renewed with people who lived outside the city limits. Those who understand plumbing retrieved buckets of water from local bodies of water and used that water to refill the tanks on their toilets. And, I’m quite sure, more than a few people renewed the age-old practice of finding a good-sized tree.
Having lived through the temporary cessation of both of these modern-day conveniences, I feel that I can give an accurate assessment of the value of these services. Losing e-mail was inconvenient and certainly led to frustration but it was the loss of water services that really crystallized, for me, the importance of water. It was truly a manifestation of the saying, “You don’t know what you got till it’s gone.” On a more basic level, you could probably find examples of lives being saved through the use of e-mail. It is fact, however, that life would cease to exist without water.
Since the financial crisis started back in late 2007, there have been numerous opportunities to evaluate what is important in life. We learned the value of certain things and we learned that we can survive without other amenities. Sometimes it takes a loss of something for a true evaluation of its worth to be determined.
I love my e-mail, my Internet and my cell phone. I use all three frequently. They can’t, however, replace the sound of running water in “my facilities.”
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