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Saving water and seeing cute guys, too


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POSTED: Thursday, July 09, 2009

Just by accident, I have become a greenie. I'm not the sort of person who marches, carrying signs for worthy causes. I've never raced or walked or swam to raise money. I'm actually pretty selfish and not in the least bit altruistic. But today I became a greenie, and saved a little bit of the world in an oddly significant way.

It all started years ago when I discovered that my fake waterfall, made of some sort of resin rock, was getting all caked with white gunk in the crevices where the water repeatedly washed. I came to the conclusion that my soft sweet Hawaii must have hard mineral tap water. Duh. Rain filters down through the Koolaus and picks up all those minerals. To stop accumulating this white stuff on this impossible-to-clean surface, I decided to use distilled water. It took about 10 gallons, which required my husband's brawn to lug it home to dump in my waterfall. It solved the problem. Not only did the white stuff stop accumulating, it went away.

Next, I needed to figure out how to ensure a steady supply of this wonderful water. What's another word for unfiltered water? Rain. To make a long story short, my husband and I developed a rain barrel out of a plastic garbage can, which keeps my waterfall gurgling cleanly.

Cut to today. It was pouring rain. I managed to finish mowing the lawn just as the drops began making dark stains on the lawn mower bag. It felt good to be drenched with warm water that soaked my long-sleeved rash guard and washed the salty sweat off my face. Not wanting to go inside, I needed a reason to stay out. I'll wash my car, I thought. Not only will I save water, but I won't have to dry the thing because rainwater doesn't leave mineral spots. It was fun sweeping my hand over the hood, knocking sprays of water to the pavement. I only used about a half-gallon of water from the hose to mix the car-washing detergent.

Yes, I saved water. That makes me a greenie. I will accept the resulting kudos graciously. But that's not the big deal that's prompted me to write this. Here is the big deal:

Although it must have looked funny to see me, a middle-aged crazy woman with a ragged straw hat washing her car in the rain, it must not have looked too funny to the 20-something guys across the street, experts at car washing, as only men can be. A few hours later, with the next downpour, there were the young, strapping, shirtless guys, with big car wash sponges in their hands, following MY idea.

What is significant is I that I had an idea in a man's area of expertise, and men followed it without a word being said.

And I got to see those strapping guys with their shirts off.

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Susan Baecker Grant is a nurse with Kaiser Permanente. “;The Goddess Speaks”; is a feature by and about women. Essays of about 500 words may be sent to “;The Goddess Speaks,”; 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, Honolulu 96813; or e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)