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Awash with fear
January 16, 2014, 05:00 AM By Michelle Durand Daily Journal

Apparently, California will never see rain again. Don’t blame me. I’ve washed the car — now twice. I’ve reached for short sleeves rather than sweaters. I’ve left the dogs in the backyard for extended periods of time without any barrier to the possibly rainy elements. I’ve planned outdoor activities on weekends. I’ve mocked the polar vortex. I even went to work without a jacket and purposely opted against sticking an umbrella in the trunk, just in case.

In other words, I’ve done my part to taunt the weather gods who, for whatever reason, refuse to bring it. Possibly, they are using reverse psychology and purposely refusing to deliver a wee bit of moisture upon this western land.

This is good news for those of us whose hair has just enough wave to frizz at the first sign of mist and have a tendency to inadvertently step in puddles while wearing heels or long pants. Excuses to hide the winter indulgences under a bulky sweater rather than sucking in the gut in summery garb is also a plus. The truth is, though, we need some rain. Any rain. Maybe not quite El Niño or La Niña or any of those other exotic-sounding weather children that justify flood insurance mandates and tsunami-themed disaster movies. But a splash here and there isn’t too greedy.

Obviously, though, it is. Winter is all but officially canceled which means a couple of things: I’d like my daylight savings hours back. The state is going to be the next snowbird state when the AARP contingent grows weary of Florida’s weirdness. And it’s just a matter of days, hours even, until the governor declares a drought and we all go back to dead lawns, buckets under the bathtub faucets and giving neighbors the stink eye for washing their vehicles with a garden hose in the driveway.

The city of Sacramento has gotten ahead of the curve by already enacting strict water restrictions under what is labeled a “stage 2 water shortage plan.” This level falls just below Defcon 1 and means capital folks are now told to cut back on their usage by 20 percent and 30 percent and abide by limits on usage or else risk the wrath of the water police who come bearing warnings, citations and — the worst — water class. Perhaps if one also lights up a fire the same day, the smoke class imposed for Spare the Air violations can cancel out water class for failing the rationing. Call it a wash — just not on one of those no-wash days!

The rest of the state isn’t far behind Sacramento’s knuckling down on water wastefulness so let’s not wait for an official decree. Beginning today, let’s all do better. First, cut back on the bathing and showering. Invest in tubs of hand sanitizer and dry shampoo. Always wear deodorant. After a couple days of layering, no smell is getting through that buildup.

Stop filling up the plastic bottle from the tap or asking for ice. Opt for soda or gin. Not together. And not with ice. In fact, don’t even dirty a glass. Drink straight from the bottle. When someone calls you an alcoholic counter with, “No, I’m an environmentalist.” Once the naysayer gets a whiff of four-days-without-soap-and-water, they’ll really believe the claim.

Wipe down the car with glass cleaner. Swear off instant hot chocolate and pasta — anything that requires boiling water, actually. Learn to dry swallow pills. Make the clothes presentable with fabric freshener and wrinkle release sprays. Eat off paper plates. In other words, pretend you’re in West Virginia.

Someday the skies will part again but right now most Californians likely have a heavy level of drought.

Michelle Durand’s column “Off the Beat” runs every Tuesday and Thursday. She can be reached by email: or by phone (650) 344-5200 ext. 102. What do you think of this column? Send a letter to the editor:



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