Mercy Baron 12:43 p.m., Dec. 7
In these waning days of summer I feel it is finally safe to explore a reoccurring nightmare…
According to the city-enforced, mandatory, water-restrictions, today is the day to water my lawn here in Scripps Ranch. I go about this process with the agility and single-minded dedication of a trained circus chimp. I have placed catch basins underneath known “leakers” and am on a constant vigil against overflows and rouge runoffs! My path (mentally laid out for minimum liquid wastage) requires me to dive, twist, and roll my way through the yard on a continuous quest to provide life-sustaining elixir to my photo-synthesizing charges.
Anxiety begins when I notice a neighbor strolling past the yard. Let’s just call him, Field Marshall Yurbizismein. I spy, sticking from his back pocket, a rain gauge. But this isn’t just any rain gauge, oh no! It is a model #4726 (military-grade) personal precipitation measurement device. Even worse, clenched in his fist is a stack of handy-dandy door-hangers provided by the city to encourage neighbors to keep an eye out for aquatic crimes and to turn in any such perpetrators.
My initial panic subsides as I scan the sidewalk below him and the driveway in front of him and see no seepage from the yard. I may be okay. He seems satisfied and continues to meander past. But I’m not fooled. He’s never far, he never sleeps, and, if it wasn’t in direct opposition to city ordinance, he would have ice-water in his veins!
I return to my task but soon notice a small bubbling spot in the middle of the yard. I stand over it and watch as it begins to spread. It is now spurting water a foot in the air and continues to expand. I step back and can only watch in horror as the suck-hole pulls down a garden gnome. The spout has now reached six feet. I start for the spigot at the corner of the house. The spigot, of course, has become an open fire hydrant spewing water into the side-yard. Several children in bathing suits appear out of nowhere and begin frolicking in this dream-induced oasis.
Realizing that I should concentrate on one emergency at a time, I turn back to the sink-hole now occupying three quarters of the yard. I’m stopped in my tracks by the giant water slide standing in my driveway. Sliders, by the dozens, fly down the monstrosity. They flow over the bump-da-bumps, around the banked curves and out into the water- engorged gutter. Their soggy laughter fills my mind as they climb to the top for another run.
Just as I notice Field Marshall What’s-his-thing-a-ma-jigger writing citation after citation and flicking one after the other into the insatiable gaping crater that was my yard, I’m hit in the face with a bucket of water…
“What the..?” I’m shocked awake, scrambling to regain my balance in the hammock. I’m looking up at my wife and niece. “You sleepy,” little June bug confirms; holding up a now empty Dixie cup. “Honey, you have to be careful,” I explain. “You don’t want to waste water like that.” Wiping my eyes, I look to my wife to deliver the final point in defense of conservation. After some consideration, she smiles. “Book her, Danno.”
Daniel J McAuliffe 9/30/09