The twins come from a eleven-person household, and grew up in a house equipped with two bathrooms, and unfortunately situated in what even rural Waterfordians call 'Injun country': The outer limits of Fenor. It stands to reason that they fear catastrophic events more than the cushty townie that they now share a home with. 'What the fuck are you doing?' I asked from my Sunday evening nest of newspapers, toast rinds and blankets.
'DUH. Filling the bath with water in case of a blackout from the hurricane, stupid.' They chorused back. It took my thirty whole seconds to juggle around possible uses for a bathful of water during a hurricane. Sudden personal filth that required immediate washing? Re-homing of ducks from the boating lake?
'Well, what for, though?'
'DUH! To flush the toilet when the power goes! Are you naturally this dense or do you work at it?'
'It's as automatic to me as breathing,' I mumbled, my stock response whenever I am paid a compliment. Actually, I was concentrating very hard on figuring out a) why this could possibly be an issue at 11pm at night b) why I had never thought to wonder what powered toilets flushing and c) how to prove both twins wrong without having to leave my couch.
'You are wrong, you are terribly, terribly wrong. Firstly, I cannot recall ever losing power in my home for longer than three hours and sec- actually, lastly- I cannot ever remember a toilet not flushing. In conclusion, you are both wrong, good night.'
This perplexed them both, as instead of retiring to my bedroom upon saying goodnight, I put a newspaper over my face and feigned loud whistling snores. This is my stock response to any bewildering confrontation. They finished filling the bath, filled some 2l bottles of drinking water and went to bed. They'd have been exemplary during the Blitz, I don't doubt.
This morning, after the twins had gone to work, I stood in the bathroom and chuckled at the placid sunlight winking calmly off the water in the bathtub. 'Oh, foolish, cautious twins. How you delight! How much I must teach you of living in modern civilisation! I shall enjoy remarking on your premature bathtub filling with condescension and wit!'
Then I walked into the kitchen and realised that I had left the fridge door open for a hour, had left the empty coffee pot scalding on a hot plate and forgotten to put detergent in the washing machine.
There is no limit to the petty and unamusing ironies of my days.