What percentage of the world’s population even has running water to take a shower is my question. After sitting on the tarmac a good while and landing an hour and a half late, my cousin greets me with not only a bear hug but a meatloaf! The two beef patties I ingested while waiting for him to arrive did little to curb my appetite so I ate it forgoing the outrageously priced sprite at the airport bar. I felt sorry for the fellow passenger though who, after bonking his head on the fixed television screen in the center aisle as he deplaned, was incredulous that three American beers would cost him $15 dollars U.S. Not the best way to begin a family vacation, I imagine.
Back to the water at hand. Mentioning to my female cousin once I arrived at my Aunt’s house that the absence of warm water would be the creature comfort I’d miss most, she said, commiserating, warm water shouldn’t be a luxury. Though this issue has ever been part of my life bridging 1st and 3rd worlds, I never quite considered it that way. Having received from a colleague a gift bracelet yesterday, bearing the inscription “It is what it is”, I can’t accept cousin’s premise without a challenge.
Somewhere over Cuba I realized how everything is a luxury and not only when others do without it. The very trees to people ratio that I’ve always thought normal, something like 50 to 1, is a luxury. And you know this to be true once you’ve had an aerial view of Cuba and Jamaica back to back. The color green, in it’s million hues, is a luxury of indescribable proportions. Walking under your own steam is a luxury. Leaving the house without a fistful of skeleton keys to get back in is a luxury. A laptop with unlimited internet access is a luxury; a roof over one’s head at night, clothes to cover several parts of the body at once; someone with different or similar political views to talk to without ending in bloodshed – all these are luxuries. So yes, I believe warm water is a luxury and so I slowed down to enjoy the equal and opposite luxury that was but a trickle of cool water – my sole means of washing up before going to bed tonight in the luxury of a bed in which my aunt quite possibly lays dying while I count my luxuries fully expecting the luxury of waking up tomorrow morning to be mine.