Thursday, June 14, 2007

Water Restriction

Imagine your typical American office - one with individual offices instead of cubicles, though. People toil there daily, kissing client butt and generally getting things done. It's what they're paid for, after all.

Imagine that this office has a kitchen for the staff, with microwave, dishwasher, even a warming tray (a puzzling yet classy addition), and a refrigerator. The fridge is stocked with beverages - cans of soda, bottles of green tea, etc. The beverages are provided by the company for the hard-working employees. It's a very nice touch.

Except -

In the door of the fridge, there are bottles of water, all lined up like soldiers of healthy refreshment. In the hot summers of the South (even in air-conditioned office-ness), there is nothing quite as refreshing as a bottle of refrigerated water - except for a cold beer, but that's for after-hours. In the South, families have always kept a bottle of water in the fridge, pouring that cold water over ice cubes for maximum chill. It's so hot down here in August that to fill a glass with ice cubes and then pour cold water straight from the tap is to melt your ice cubes immediately. There has always been a bottle of water in the fridge.

My point is this. Water is crucial, right? We're 70% water, the Earth is something like 70% water, if you went more than three days without water, you'd die. It's basic.

Imagine this office again, with the fridge of water bottles. Imagine the slap-in-the-face post-it note stuck there - "FOR CLIENTS ONLY."

Imagine a place where the bottled water is off-limits to all but paying customers. I guess you'd have to bring your own water from home, or you could pour yourself a glass of water from the communal water pitcher (kept in the fridge, of course)... the water pitcher might have a filter upon it, but then - what about those folks who might put the lip of the pitcher directly against the lip of their well-used water bottle in order to refill? Imagine the transfer of germs and bacteria.

In these uncertain times of tubercular airline passengers and a thousand other infectious maladies - would it make sense for this fictitious office to offer its employees individual cans of sugary soda, but force them to drink your basic water from a trough, when you get right down to it?

Imagine the unruly rebels in this office who might pooh-pooh the restriction on bottled water, helping themselves to perhaps a bottle per day - it's only fair, considering the employees in question seldom partake of the proffered soda. What difference does it make - a can of soda or a bottle of water? Isn't this an imaginary free country?

And now imagine the final insult - one morning, an unruly rebel walks into the kitchen, opens the fridge, and finds that all the bottled water is gone, along with the "FOR CLIENTS ONLY" note. The illicit water is now surely locked away in a closet that cannot be accessed by mere mortals.

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