Home Opinion and Features Diary of a water-deprived soul: One man’s five-day Odyssey in Sol Plaatje

Diary of a water-deprived soul: One man’s five-day Odyssey in Sol Plaatje


THE FUNHOUSE MIRROR COLUMN: “Dear Diary, I learned today that dignity is overrated”: Read the riveting account of one man’s tale of surviving a five-day water shutdown in the city of Sol Plaatje.

Picture: MS Dabbler

By Monty Quill

Day 1: – The Great Drought Begins

Dear Diary,

Today, the gods of hydration decided to play a cruel joke on us. The water supply has been turned off, the taps have run dry and Sol Plaatje has been transformed into a post-apocalyptic city.

I stood in front of my bathroom mirror, toothbrush in hand, staring at my reflection. “You’re not thirsty,” I whispered to myself, trying to convince my parched soul.

Outside, chaos reigned. Neighbours gathered around the last remaining puddle, armed with empty buckets and desperation.

The mayor appeared on radio, his voice echoing through the dust-filled air. “Fear not,” he declared, “we’ve got this under control.” I wondered if he’d tried brushing his teeth without water.

Day 2: – The Quest for Liquid Gold

Dear Diary,

I woke up today and instinctively headed for the toilet. Old habits die hard, don’t they? The toilet roll stared back at me, a cruel reminder of our parched reality. I had to use my precious water stockpile for the morning coffee. It tasted like impending doom.

I never realised how much I took water for granted. Washing the dishes with a cup of water is an extreme sport. I’m considering eating directly off the table to save water. On the bright side, I’ve discovered that I can cook, clean, and bathe with the same water. Talk about multi-tasking!

I ventured out in search of water. The streets resembled scenes from a Mad Max movie. People bartered for drops of moisture like traders in a post-apocalyptic bazaar. I overheard a man negotiating with a street vendor: “I’ll give you three rusty nails and half a shoelace for that thimble of water.” The vendor hesitated, then nodded solemnly. Desperate times, indeed.

At home, I rationed my remaining bottled water. Each sip felt like a forbidden pleasure. I even named my water bottle “Aqua Maximus” and whispered sweet nothings to it. “Hang in there, old friend,” I said. “We’ll survive this together.”

Day 3: – The Battle of the Bathtub

Dear Diary,

I discovered a hidden reservoir – the bathtub! It sat there, porcelain and majestic, mocking my thirst. I stripped down, climbed in, and submerged myself. “I am Poseidon,” I declared, sloshing water around. My wife raised an eyebrow. “You’re Poseidon with a potbelly,” she retorted. Fair point.

Poseidon’s water kingdom didn’t last long. One stray foot hooking on the bath plug chain and it was all gone – down the drain, literally.

Outside, the city’s water trucks arrived. People swarmed them like bees to a sugary cola drink. I joined the queue, clutching my empty bucket. The truck driver eyed me wearily. “Water or your dignity,” he said. I chose water. Dignity was so last season.

The communal JoJo tanks have meanwhile become our Colosseum. We queue up, plastic containers in hand, ready to wrestle for a trickle of liquid gold. The elderly lady ahead of me wields her watering can like a seasoned gladiator. I consider challenging her, but she’s apparently got a mean left hook. Instead, I settle for a passive-aggressive cough and inch closer.

Day 4: – The Cult of the Leaky Tap

Dear Diary,

Necessity is the mother of invention, indeed. I’ve rigged up a system to collect dew from the plants. I’m also considering squeezing water from stones next. I’ve started talking to my water bottles. They are my best friends now.

I stumbled upon a secret society – the Cult of the Leaky Tap. They gathered around a dripping faucet, chanting, “Hail H2O! Blessed be the droplets!” I joined their ranks, cupping my hands under the leak. “Praise the trickle,” I whispered.

The high priestess, a woman with wild hair and cracked lips, handed me a soggy pamphlet: “The Gospel of Condensation”.

Back home, I stared at my empty coffee mug. “Remember the days when we brewed coffee?” I asked it. The mug remained silent. I missed coffee. And showers. And flushing toilets. Civilisation has crumbled, and I am one washed underpants away from madness.

Day 5: – The Resurrection (Not Really)

Dear Diary,

The water is supposed to return today! Hallelujah! I danced around the tap, singing praises to the water gods. My wife rolled her eyes. “You’re delirious,” she said.

Still waiting …

I’ve mastered the ancient art of dry bathing. Step one: Strip down to your shame. Step two: Pretend you’re in a tropical rainforest. Imagine the droplets caressing your skin. Step three: Rub vigorously with an imaginary loofah. Voilà! You’re cleaner than a politician’s conscience. Bonus points if you hum “I Will Survive” during the process.

Things are getting really desperate. It’s late at night and the water is still not on.

And I wait …

I’ve had an epiphany. Water is overrated. Who needs it? Not me! I’ve transcended mere H2O. I’m a desert sage, a moisture-deprived guru. I’ve renamed myself Swami Aquanada. My followers (the cat and the elderly gladiator) gather outside as I preach the gospel of dehydration. “Embrace the arid life,” I declare. They nod solemnly, probably wondering if I’ve lost my marbles.

… Will the taps gurgle back to life tomorrow?

Picture: ‘Diary of a Water-Deprived Soul’ by MS Dabbler
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