Saturday, April 9, 2016

H is for Hoses and Hydrants #AtoZchallenge

Summer cool off and the invention of hydrocolonics.

Summer in the suburbs is different from summer in the big city.  Out there, you had swimming pools and sprinklers to cope with the oppressive heat and humidity.  In the city, you had the fire hydrant.  You could go to the police station and sign out a sprinkler cap which you'd fix to the hydrant.  When it was opened, the kids and some adults would dance and play in the artificial rain shower.
However, in my neighborhood, not too many people wanted to show up voluntarily at the police station.  It had something to do with everyone's last name ending in a vowel and the occupations such luxury afforded.  Instead of the sprinkler cap, we'd just open the hydrant and unleash a torrent of water so forceful the water pressure in the rest of Brooklyn disappeared.  It was so forceful that one of us would have to sit on the water stream to let traffic pass.  

Little known fact;  this was how colonic hydrotherapy was discovered.

One day, my father drove by with his windows rolled open.  I sat on the stream so he could pass.  Just as he crossed in front of the hydrant I jumped away from the water blast and watched as his car took on enough water to sink a battleship.  This was the equivalent of the urban water fight.  Sure, we had water guns and hoses but we had no real land to frolic in the throes of a real water fight.  It wasn't a very common city thing.  

 Everyone was in hysterics and he didn't say a word.  He didn't panic.  He didn't speed up.  He just drove down the block to a spot, opened the door and let the water pour out like you see in the movies.  I thought he'd come join us or try to dunk me.  Nope.  He just strolled inside, soaking wet.  Everyone thought I was in big trouble. I went home that night and he was totally fine.  Too fine. He had to be angry, right?  I mean, I just flooded the entire interior of the car and soaked him through.  Yet he was totally fine.  It was unnerving. 

By the next day I had forgotten about it.  I was in the kitchen when I heard a knock at the door. I heard my father yell that he was in the bathroom and if I could answer it.   I opened the door and there he was with a smile holding the garden hose.  My grandmother was behind me as was the rest of the furnished apartment.  He was wide eyed and began screaming that samurai banzai yell.  There was no way he'd be that craz---
The force of the water almost knocked me down.  I ducked and ran and he soaked my grandmother, the living room, the couch, the art on the walls and the carpet.  He chased me into the house with the hose on full blast knocking the glasses off the table and soaking the fabric covered chairs.  He chased me into my grandmother's room where I thought I'd be safe.  There was no way he'd have the testicular fortitude to open fire among all her things.  

I was wrong.  Before he was finished, everything in her room from me to her bed to her now smoking tv set were completely soaked.  By then, my grandmother was on him screaming obscenities in both Italian and English.  "Anthony, you motherf***ing  c***su****g bastard! I'm gonna cut your nuts off when you're sleeping, you hump!"   That went on in an unbroken stream for about fifteen minutes as she tried to wrestle the hose from him while he sprayed her down.  When it was over, the whole house was wet and stayed in some form of damp for the next few days.  

There were revenge skirmishes.  When my father was in the shower, my grandmother jimmied the door and snuck in with a pot of cold water which she tossed over the shower curtain with a morbid delight.  In return, he banged on the front window and when she went to investigate he fired the hose into the living room from the outside thereby 
unleashing a new variety of colorful obscenities.

That was many years ago, a time I still miss.  I have yet to duplicate the art of the indoor water fight in my adult life.  Maybe it's for the best.  And maybe I just haven't had the right opportunity...

Thank you for visiting.  Subscribe to be part of the chaos here and never miss a post!  If you'd like something light and cheery, please visit my kid's picture book blog about an adventurous five-legged spider and the mischief he gets himself into at Ollie Bug's Blog , also part of the A to Z Challenge.  You can also find me on Facebook Instagram  Twitter


  1. I'm thinking he had a bit of a sense of humor to get his "revenge" back this way. I have seen pictures of kids playing in fire hydrants like this, never knew of anyone that actually did :)


    1. Oh he had a sense of humor. I was the recipient of several pots of cold water in the shower. Every summer on the really hot days we'd try to convince a parent to open the hydrant. Even if we didn't get the sprinkler cap...

  2. With my only experience with fire hydrants being what I have seen in the movies, I was unaware that you could get a cap to open the hydrant. I don't know why I always thought it was something illegal. I always thought it would be fun to experience that.

    Great story about your family's water fights. Those are the best family memories to have. :-)

    Stefani | Dreams of Nyssa

    1. I'm not sure how legal it was. It may have been used only for street cleaning but we managed to get one. And sometimes we just opened the hydrant. Different times. I'm glad you liked my story!