Archaic skills

At points in your life, you learn skills that you think never to use again. But somehow, inevitably, that archaic skillset becomes valuable once again.

When I was in Mozambique, the water only ran for like 4 hours a day. (They ran the generator to pump the water to a holding tank, and when the tank was dry, there was no more water.) Even when it ran, it wasn’t warm. So we had big tubs of water in the kitchen we used the rest of the time.

In my 10 weeks there, I became adept at bathing using only 2 or 3 pitchers full of boiling water. (They had neat, very fast, electric kettles out there.) You learn things — like most of the water you use bathing this way comes in rinsing, not soaping.

Well, our hot water heater is kaput. (Whether temporarily or permanently, I know not.) And we had just finished a two mile run and lifted weights in high humidity. No matter how you slice it, I needed a bath. So, I took one, using those obsolete skills.

Sitting on the floor of the bathub, my soaped skin slightly chill to the touch, shaving my legs… I remembered that the last time I had done that, I’d gotten blood poisoning from it. Here’s hoping Malden’s water is better treated.

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Brenda currently lives in Stoneham MA, but grew up in Mineral WA. She is surrounded by men, with two sons, one husband and two boy cats. She plays trumpet at church, cans farmshare produce and works in software.

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