Saturday, September 13, 2014

A Pool in a Drought

“It’s been so hot lately,” I said sipping a glass of white wine during a night out with the girls.
“That shouldn’t bother you,” my friend Jeannie said. “You have a gorgeous pool to cool off in.”
“A pool? Oh my god.” Domino said. “How irresponsible. I mean like, there’s a drought and everything… You know?”
Yes. Like. I know.

It had been a while since I’d gone for drinks with the girls and in the meantime new girls had been added to the group. My dear friend Jeannie was present and she had invited a work colleague of hers named Domino, which wasn’t her real name, of course. Her mother had christened her “Mavis” but finding it too common, she chose her own unique name; one that happened to be synonymous with one of the most popular kid’s games of all time. 

Knowing Domino—the game—but not the person, and realizing that she and Jeannie had a connection, I refrained from responding with anything more than a tight smile and nod, which was the right thing to do since as the night wore on I noticed Domino had many opinions about many things, such as: “Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have ruined marriage for everyone.”; “Animals should rule the world.”; and “We vegetarians make the best lovers.”

It seems to me that if two consenting adults want to marry, they should be able to do so. And Animals do rule the world if you consider politicians as pigs. And as far as vegetarians being the best lovers? How would Domino know when she was sporting leather shoes and a Coach leather handbag? As they say, let the person without sin cast the first ostrich-skin Jimmy Choo shoe.

The next day I tried to shake off Domino’s comment but in truth, I felt horrible about having a pool during this long California drought. I compensated for it by living with minimal water in other ways. Namely: 1) I converted my yard to a drought tolerant oasis; 2) I washed my produce over a big bowl to collect the water, which I reused to irrigate my herb garden; and 3) I took the fastest showers in the west. In fact, my showers were so fast, Mr. Wonderful questioned if I even got wet. Pssh. Men!    

But even though I was saving water in other ways and places, I still felt guilty about my pool. Call it Pool-Owner’s Guilt.

Then a European friend sent me an article from the British newspaper, The Guardian. Basically the article said because of the drought, L.A.’s backyard pools should go the way of the dinosaur: die leaving their remnants across the landscape while becoming popular with fourth graders nationwide. After reading The Guardian article, I felt even worse. Something had to change. I had to do more to conserve water.

“I’m forfeiting taking showers,” I told Mr. Wonderful.
“That won’t save any water. You barely use water now,” he said looking up from his cup of espresso.
He did have a point. 
“Alright then,” I said. “You can stop taking showers.” 
“Do you really want me to?” In our early days of owning The House, Mr. Wonderful installed a window on a 99 degree fahrenheit day. I could smell his sweat from here to the Venice Canals. And back.

I escaped outside to wrack my brain on how to alleviate my Pool-Owner’s Guilt. Maybe I could stop drinking green tea thereby saving the water for another purpose! But me operating without a cup of morning caffeine was not a pretty sight. I got it! Mr. Wonderful could stop drinking espresso! That’s it! But espresso already had so little water in it, would it even make a difference? 

“Morning,” my 86-year-old  neighbor said. “Something on your mind?”
“Hey, Harold,” I said picking up the LA Times newspaper from the driveway. “I just feel guilty for owning pool in a drought. It seems wasteful and irresponsible to have all that water. What will other people say?”
“You don’t fill your pool every day.”
“You use it every day.”
“You got rid of the grass in your yard.”
“Well, when everyone else gets rid of their lawn, which they have to water all the time, then they can complain about your pool. Because their lawns drink up more water than your swimming hole.”
“It’s in the newspaper,” Harold said hoisting his flag and disappearing into his house.

I opened the LA Times and saw their front page story about how much water pools in L.A. “waste”. According to the article, pools use less water than lawns! And with pool covers, use less water than drought tolerant gardens! And VoilĂ ! My Pool-Owner’s Guilt  vanished like water sprinkled on the street on a hot September day. 

Thank you, LA Times! Without further ado, it’s time for a swim in my gorgeous pool! 



  1. Well... I have to hand it to you! I think I would smacked that chick with her friggin Coach purse! People like her are awful. As I was reading I kept thinking what are you supposed to do with your pool? Drain all the water? How does that help? I was glad to see the Times report at the end. Float away!!!

    1. Hi Patty,
      Great questions! It's so interesting meeting people who develop their opinions without looking at the facts. Thanks to the Times, I'm going to keep on swimming! Enjoy today!