People basically don’t give a shit.
Our apartment was built back in 1873 and there are no individual water meters for the units. So the total water bill gets divvied up and is reflected in the rent. And since no one person’s water usage can make much of an impact on the overall amount, and since you don’t get a monthly water bill there’s no incentive to conserve water unless you’re instinctively a cheap ass, which I am.
Because California is in a mild drought about six months ago I bought a $5 waterproof five-minute hourglass with a little suction thingy that sticks to the shower wall. It’s amazing how quickly five minutes in the shower go by, hardly enough time to scrape the crusty places and rinse the sand out of my ears.
Then one morning I was riding with Geriatric Jedi-in-Training, and we got to talking about saving water. “Well,” said G-JiT, “you oughta try a Navy shower.”
At first I thought he was inviting me to something obscene. “Thanks, man, but I don’t swing that way.”
“No, no,” he said. “It’s where you switch the water on for a few seconds to get wet, switch it off, lather up, rinse, repeat. That way you’re not dumping gallons of hot water on your head just for the fun of it.”
So I tried the Navy shower and now that’s all I do, and lately I’ve not even been using the hot water. So it drives me insane when I get up in the morning at 4:30 and do walking laps around the complex, because that’s when they run the sprinklers and about half of them point out on the sidewalk. The conservation effect of my tiny little 30-second showers are all completely negated for the month in the first minute of a single morning’s sprinkling.
I was telling this story to the guy who always points. It was after this morning’s NPR, where I scored a glorious victory, attacking with two laps to go, shelling the breakawanker who refused to pull and dropping the other one before going on to a solo win. Later, allegations of cheating, course cutting, and general skulduggery were leveled against me, and of course I denied them all.
The guy who always points is the only person in the peloton who always points. You can be whizzing along at 30, teeth grazing the stem, and he will always point out the crack, the pothole, the broken glass, the magnolia seed cone, or the dead body in the road.
“People are selfish and stupid beyond any comprehension,” I said, complaining about my selfish apartment complex management and its wasteful ways.
“Yes,” he agreed. “They are.”
“And they don’t give a shit.”
“No,” he agreed. “They don’t.”
On cue a woman darted out in front of us in her car without bothering to stop at the stop sign I was preparing to blow. Then another woman almost clocked us as she gabbed on her cell phone and sipped coffee.
“What the hell is going on?” I asked. “People are crazy. They don’t care if they kill you, and if they’re like the mob at the Dallas Cowboys game, they do care if they kill you, and then they kill you.”
“Yep,” said the guy who always points. “They sure do.”
“And you can’t change them. For every person who does the right thing, there’s a thousand who text and drive and like the Dallas Cowboys.”
The guy who always points pointed out some glass. I moved over. “But you,” I said, “you’re different. You’re always pointing shit out no matter what.”
“Yep,” he said. “I am.”
“And it’s because of you that about twelve billion idiots have avoided crashing or flats or both.”
“Yep,” he said. “They have.”
“So why do you do it? Other people don’t point shit out, even the ones whose asses you save by pointing shit out.”
“Seth,” he said, as he pointed out a nasty crack that I narrowly avoided. “We’re all in this together.”
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