I had noticed a filtered water machine at the gas station down the street from me. In an effort to more easily stay hydrated, I ordered a gallon water jug thinking that I could just walk down to the store and fill it up for $.35. Now I have a big water filter in my room, but to fill it I have to make multiple trips from the kitchen with a jug, and monitor the particulate count with a meter (or just notice when it starts tasting funny), buy filters, change the filters, fill out a form and mail in the filters to get recycled and get a credit on some new filters, make sure the cistern stays clean, etc. It seemed way easier to walk down to the store and pay $.35 and, BAM! Gallon of clean tasting filtered water.
I used the jug multiple times, but then one day I went to fill it up and the machine was apparently out of order. I would check periodically but it was out of order for quite a while. Then one day, there it was, all lit up again, ready to dispense me some lovely, life giving oxygen combined with a pair of hydrogen molecules! Yay!
But then soon after it was out of order again. After a few trips with it still being out of commission, I decided to ask the store clerk about it. He went to check it out and found it was simply unplugged. Well, good thing I asked about it! I told him I would have to come back with my jug. Today (a day or two after that last encounter), I grabbed my trusty gallon jug, prepared to stop drinking so much Diet Mtn. Dew and get some of that incredibly beneficial water into my system again! I needed some sun and air anyway, so I walked on down to the gas station on my quest, 35 cents jangling in the pocket of my Forest Green gym shorts.
As I approached, I was stopped dead in my tracks and my mouth went agape. There were no lights. In fact, there was no machine. The water machine was gone. A discolored patch of concrete next to the ice machine where it had once stood. For some reason, I walked right up to where it had been, as if maybe I wasn’t seeing something correctly. Just air where there had once been metal and plastic containing a menaga-a-trois of hydrogen and oxygen within, dancing together in their liquidy embrace.
I walked back home, defeated, wondering why the universe wanted to deny me my simple hydration wishes. As I walked, two Hispanic men in a work truck yelled something in Spanish that I didn’t understand. I looked at them, and the driver made drumming motions. I just laughed and smiled and they laughed and smiled back. When I arrived home, I made three trips from the kitchen with a kettle full of water to fill my filter. And now I sit here typing this while drinking some Diet Mtn Dew.