1. DENIAL – “I am fine. This is not a big deal. I need a new well, so I call some guys in the phone book for quotes and go with the most reasonable bid. This will be over in two weeks.”
2. ANGER – “Why did Contractor A not return my 15 messages left with his office manager? Why did Contractor B tell me he “would be by Wednesday” when he already had plane tickets to the Bahamas? Why did Contractor C insist Contractor A is really the guy for the job, but will help me if I can’t get hold of him … and I can’t get hold of him, but he still doesn’t want to come out to do a quote? Have my temples always pulsated like this and I just never noticed?”
3. BARGAINING – “Maybe I don’t actually need water piped into my house. Maybe I can just bathe with aloe baby wipes. I mean, lots of people live without indoor plumbing. I have a nice rain barrel already, that should be plenty.”
4. DEPRESSION – “Yes, officer, there is a good reason I am lying in the road. I am hoping a vehicle will come by and run over me. I would rather taste death than make one more phone call to Contractor A who has been telling me he will definitely be out next Wednesday to start — for the past 12 weeks. I have written out my will and left it on the kitchen table. I want to be buried at sea. Ha ha. Wouldn’t that be ironic? To be buried in water after dying because you can’t get anyone out to your house to dig a well? No, officer, I am not resisting arrest. They have running water in jail, right? I’ll go.”
5. ACCEPTANCE – “I can see now that it is God’s will for me to live in a house with orange water, with water pressure equal to what you would get from tossing spoonfuls of liquid into a cup. I embrace the reality that I don’t need to understand everything: why men whose profession is specifically to drill wells for homeowners would be so averse to the idea of actually coming to a home and drilling a well. I celebrate my solidarity with mid-western farmers ravaged by drought, with the world’s poor who have no running water. I acknowledge the mystery of — goddammit, the neighbors have their sprinkler going, I want water too — get me the Yellow Pages!
(Postscript: A bad water day in North America is still better than a good water day in many other parts of the world. Please consider making a donation to Charity:Water to help provide clean water to those who have none).