Landscape took her toothbrush into the girls’ toilet, where a couple of the residents were doing their morning rituals over the shared sinks. Haven’s Farm had been designed by men, and nowhere was it more obvious than here. The fluorescent lights were harsh and made everybody’s skin look ghastly. There wasn’t anywhere near enough counter or shelf space for the potions and elixirs everyone collected. And most of all, there weren’t enough shower stalls to handle the morning rush.
“Rush” might have been too strong a word. Near as Landscape could tell, the average time the ladies of Haven’s Farm spent in the shower in the morning was something in excess of two weeks.
Water was precious in California’s Central Valley. It was illegal to pump it from the ground or take it from any river. There had even been an effort made some years ago by the water corporation to make catching rainwater illegal. The farmer’s used water efficiently, with elaborate underwater computer-run drip systems optimizing water use. Ironically, using it more efficiently meant less overflow going to everybody else, so it didn’t help as much with the problem as one might have expected. Water was expensive, and many Californians made do with infrequent, short, cool showers.
Haven’s Farm was an exception. There was a large reservoir on the roof that stored tk cubic meters of water and kept the pressure high throughout the property. There were three separate wastewater recycling systems. One for laundry and other wash water, known as “number three,” and two for other wastewater — numbers one and two. Each system had a series of basins the water cycled through, each with its own carefully crafted ecology of algae and water plants removing impurities from the system. Sensors tested every step of the process, and bots maintained the balance so that the water coming out the end was purer than that you could buy from the water company. The used toilet was pumped back to the reservoir on the roof. The reservoir was next to a large collection of black plastic and glass solar water heaters that used Sacramento’s sunlight to heat water to nearly boiling before pumping it to a large insulated tank. In the winter, direct sunlight was scarce, so people kept their showers relatively quick, but in the spring, summer, and fall, it was plentiful, and hot water could be had without spending a single kiwi.
Landscape wished she had taken a shower before leaving the single — she wasn’t sure why she had been in such a hurry to leave. She didn’t have to be out until noon. Maybe the thought of hanging out there knowing she’d soon be exposed to everyone’s judging eyes was just too painful.
She didn’t have to worry about that right now, of course — all five of the women’s showers were in use. Steam was pouring in billowing clouds from three of them. Apparently the other two felt that morning showers didn’t need to scald one into wakefulness.
She could postpone her shower until this afternoon, but her other morning duty was more pressing. She hated using the public toilets.
She didn’t have a problem with the toilets exposing her; they were public in the sense that anybody could use them. The stalls had doors that closed and locked and everything, without even spaces at the bottom you could look at the other defecators’ feet through. That wasn’t the problem. The problem was that these were tkbrandnames, fancy toilets, another elaborate extravagance Haven’s Farm delighted in.
These toilets used very little water to flush — their designer didn’t know that the owner would be such a recycling fanatic. When one was done with one’s business, a button sprayed a spritz of pleasant-temperatured water at the dirty areas, cleaning them without use of any paper, and then a blast of hot air removed all moisture with a whirr.
There were also a bunch of health-check features. The tkbrandname sampled the urine and stool in much the same way Portland General had. There was a camera on the door that let the toilet computer identify each patron, so it could build a database tracking “the twenty-three most important chemicals in your body,” according to the ads. The tests served as a reminder that her dad hadn’t bothered with such a fancy toilet, even though with his skills he probably could have built one for free with parts from the junkyard. It would have detected his cancer months earlier, in plenty of time for it to be resectable. Sometimes she felt like her brain was having some sort of nightmarish tennis match with those two hated words: Metastasized. Unresectable. Metastasized. Unresectable. Metastasized. Unresectable.
The twenty three most important chemicals weren’t all the toilet tracked. It also tracked weight.
She hated the tktoiletbrand.