How big is it?

Before we go any further, can I ask you all to lift your minds out of the gutter – all I shall say on that subject is that my hands, feet and nose are significantly larger than average and leave you to draw your own, ill-founded conclusions.

Instead, we will start be considering my green credentials.  I am, in fact, really quite green and have been for many years – starting long before I knew what it was to be green (unless the phrase was used to describe a frog or leaf).   There are a number of reasons for my early adoption of this planet-friendly lifestyle which I shall now reveal.

Firstly, I think we must blame the parents (mostly mine, in this case) for insisting that I turned the lights off when I left a room and for closing doors after I had passed through them to “keep the heat in” (caloric being thought to be afraid of wood in those dark days).  Secondly, I might implicate my rage against the dying of the light and my association of over-heated homes with those who have substantially more than one foot (perhaps nearer 23 inches) in the grave.  Finally, I must perhaps admit that, like Scrooge before me, I am cheap and dislike waste as it’s my money I am wasting and I could probably think of something more pleasurable to waste it on then lighting empty, overly-warm rooms.  My fondness for the cold and dark may have been strengthened by some time living in the north-east of England and trying to fit in with the natives: though I never mastered the accent, I did learn to wander around in only a t-shirt in all seasons.

My thrift (not, I should clarify, the seaside loving pink flower) extends beyond my energy consumption, and I like to imagine that I am frugal with water – especially since “the man” has started metering it.  At the risk of wandering off-topic, I think we should all make the most of gravity while it is still free – it is surely only a matter of time before some wretch works out how to monetise Newton’s discovery – so get any falling in now before the price goes up!

This morning I received a bill from my purveyor of a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen in that most desirable ratio of 2:1.  This revealed that, on average, I get through 36 litres of water per day.  This seems an awful lot of the stuff for one chap to use: it would certainly be a lot of weight to carry back from the supermarket on my bike each day were it not to arrive so conveniently by pipe.  I couldn’t help feeling that either they had made some mistake, or that I was being profligate with my water in some way without realising it (did I sleep-bath perhaps?  Well, it could explain these wrinkles I keep finding…).

As so often with an isolated number, it is very hard to know if it is big or not – though despite this governments, corporations, the press and others continue to bombard us with context-free numbers which we have little hope of really understanding (well, unless we wisely listen to More or Less).  However, further examination of my bill showed that Southern Water has very decently provided some context – so snaps to them!.  Apparently, the typical flat-dwelling singleton without garden (into which category I fall) uses 173 litres of water in an average day.  So, it would seem that far from splashing out on unnecessary moisture (and let’s face it, there is plenty of the stuff available for free outside on a daily basis), I am in fact using only just over one fifth of the normal amount.  So, I now worry that I am using too little water – is my personal hygiene not all it might be?  Are people avoiding sitting next to me on trains and buses? (A definite plus!)  Am I missing out on water-based fun that others have been keeping to themselves?  I can imagine using a little more water, but five times as much?  How is that even possible?  Are most flats in the south owned by fish or dolphins?  Would the life-style supplements, if I read them, tell me that a water-slide is this year’s “must-have” accessory?

Once again, I find myself out-of-step with my fellow humans, at the extreme edge of another bell curve.  Still, I shan’t fret too much – being this desiccated in my habits is cheap and leaves more money to buy more pleasurable fluids.

Feel free to continue the lunacy...

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