soap, bubbles
Soap bubbles: An important part of the author's water-conservation bathing process. By Keith Williamson via Flickr

This is unrelated to anything that follows in this post but worth noting nonetheless. In the past two weeks, I have twice shot Gold Tip carbon arrows head-on into the side of my house, which is made of bricks. Both shafts survived intact. In one case, the insert was so deformed I couldn’t extract it and had to throw the arrow out. In the other, I simply screwed on a new field point, replaced the nock that had fallen through the wooden deck and disappeared, and went on my merry way. I have no idea how or even if Gold Tips are manufactured differently than other arrows, but I was impressed.

I am ridiculously proud of a more recent accomplishment, which was giving myself a good sponge bath using about 1½ quarts of water. This will be a good skill to have during the End Days.

Last week, my hot water heater died and I had to wait two days for my landlord to replace it. During this time, I had tap water but—for reasons the plumber later explained that had something to do with seals and water pressure and which I could not begin to follow—nothing came out of the bathtub taps. Being the fastidious person I am, I felt it necessary to bathe. I filled a couple of pots of noticeably cool water from the kitchen sink and headed for the shower. The key to the whole operation is, of course, water management. And central to this was the 8-ounce squeeze bottle that came with a NeilMed Sinus Rinse kit recommended by my doctor for use in treating sinus infections.

If you are lucky enough to have hair, you have a built-in soap dispenser. Using the absolute minimum of water needed, wet your hair, lather it up liberally with soap and use that as your source of soap for everywhere else. While my head lacks the necessary hair, my chest pretty much makes up for it. Next, squirt a little water atop each shoulder, lather on some soap and spread it around. Remember, water is just the medium to get the soap around your body. It’s the soap itself that does the heavy lifting. Be stingy with the water and you can lather your whole body up with one 8-ounce squeeze bottle of water. That leaves you more than a quart to rinse with. This is a good trick for camping or anywhere your supply of water is limited. I have reasonably hard water where I live. If yours is soft, you may require more water to rinse off. There are certain problems you just can’t avoid.

My sponge bath got me thinking about other ways to be efficient with water. With practice, you can cup your hands so tightly that water is lost at a rate of just a drop or two per second. This came in handy not long ago when Emma and I took her dog, Daisy, for a walk near Manassas Battlefield on a hot Sunday. Daisy is a black mutt and was soon looking uncomfortably warm. I sucked water from my CamelBak, spat it into my cupped hands, and let her lap it up. I did this about six times over the course of the afternoon. She rebounded pretty well. I was curious about this, so when I got home, I measured. My cupped hands hold about 4 ounces of water. So Daisy probably got—factoring in some shrinkage for dripping and aggressive lapping on her part—at least a pint of water, probably more.

You don’t think about water until you don’t have much of it. It sure gets your attention then. As the Boy Scouts say, Be Prepared.