The sound of ice-machine shaking out cubes interrupts the TV.
No one tells Dad to be quiet as he might tell us.
The blinds are closed so the windows don’t reflect in the screen, keeping the room dark except for the blue light of the tube focus- ing its stream of electrons. On-location scenes light up each of our faces. Mom nested in the corner of the couch. Paige and Val on their stomachs on the floor, hands under chin, feet in the air. I sit in a rocking chair, next to Dad’s over-stuffed. J.R. Ewing sits on the white fence of the horse corral. His teeth grit when he tells Bobby that no amount of Pam’s whining will convince him to sell.
Dad is filling his water glass for what must be the thirteenth time that night. Dad drinks a lot of water. He has water for breakfast, before he leaves for work, and starts drinking it again the minute he comes home. He’s always telling Mom to drink more water. You’ll live longer, he tells her. Then he goes to check on the sprinkler box in the garage. Glass of ice-water in hand. It is full to the brim.
WHAT ARE YOU MADE OF?
Want to flush out toxins, get rid of cystitis, lose weight and look younger? Look no further than your tap. According to women’s magazines, most supermodels and my girlfriends, the answer couldn’t be simpler. Water. Drink at least 2 liters a day, more if you can. As for detox, it’s a virtual panacea; most health spas these days offer waterings at both ends.
My mom told me, after they divorced, that Dad kept a half-gallon of Absolut in the trunk of his car. Half of those glasses of ice-water could have been vodka. Maybe more than half.
—Excerpt from “Superfluidity” in Quench Your Thrist with Salt
In Praise of Quench Your Thirst with Salt
“Part affecting memoir, part lyric meditation on water, part cultural critique, but finally about all that is unquenchable in the human experience, Nicole Walker has created a book that is truly sui generis. By turns wry, elegiac, and always elegant in its precision and force, Walker investigates all that is contradictory and curious in the micro climate of her immediate family and the macro climate of Utah to create not a dry treatise, not a windless flight of experimental prose, but a natural history of thirst in all its manifestations, at once compulsively readable and intensely personal.”