Thank God for indoor plumbing

When it actually hits the fan and the deal goes down and we cut to the chase to get to the bottom line after the evolution, I’ll miss gas least of all the utilities. I like a gas stove, and furnace too, come to think of it, but the things we do so I can simply turn a knob and get “big fire” are gonna have to go. What kind of person fracks—injects poisons deep underground—for money? I don’t know either, but they do it because I’m addicted to easy energy. It’s cheap, too, but mostly it’s easy. I turn a knob.

I would miss the electric grid a lot, so … solar. Even without solar panels to generate electricity I could get along without computers and telephones after the initial shock. Making do after sundown with candles and oil lamps is doable if messy and maybe smelly, not as smelly perhaps as a coal-fired generator or as messy as a nuclear reactor, but smelly and messy right here in the kitchen, which is something altogether different.

My favorite utility and the one with which I would be loathe to dispense is water and sewer. I love indoor plumbing. Every time I turn on a tap and water—hot or cold, according to my whim—gushes out, I am grateful to the beneficent whatever that I don’t have to walk five miles barefoot every day with a goddamn urn on my head to fetch water for my family. That makes me happy.

When I was growing up we didn’t have a shower, just a bathtub. I showered only with teenage boys until my early 20s, when I got the chance to take a shower other than at school. Since then on many occasions I’ve been thoroughly unwashed for weeks at a time and, as I’m sure you know, the physical deliciousness of luxuriously warm water cascading over tired muscles and sweaty skin makes the larger ecosystem rather less important than my own immediate pleasure. If you knew already that I’ve been thoroughly unwashed for weeks at a time, I apologize.

California Water Service Co. sees to it that we get water whenever we want it. Some of it we heat with natural gas we buy from Pacific Gas & Electric. Some of the water we filter and actually drink.

As for disposing of our urine and feces, God bless the city of Chico, however they do it. When I think of all the poop that leaves our house in a month—and I don’t make a habit of it—I give heartfelt thanks that the city discreetly disposes of it and charges me only a double sawbuck. The best sewer in town.