I had something in mind for a real post this morning, but goddamn if it isn’t too hot to do anything but melt. Thank the stars that my work has air-conditioning, which does help to make one feel less melty; however, as recent reports have stated, it (A/C) may be one of the very things that’s helping to spread COVID.
In the words of Varric Tethras, “well, shit.”
It wasn’t until my twenties that I lived in a place that had air-conditioning. I grew up in a few different spots, and of the two main houses that I remember most, neither of them had central A/C.
The first house was a small, modest country-ish home set in the suburbs of the suburbs. We didn’t really have any neighbors, and the house’s plot of land was fairly sizable – aside from the extensive and hilly backyard, we also had a small pine forest and a large meadow on our land. We lived in that house until I was eleven or twelve. As the place where I spent the majority of my youngest years, I don’t recall at all ever being concerned with something called “air-conditioning.” I remember hot summers and spending most of that time outdoors. I don’t remember those hot summers being overly gross and humid, but then again, I don’t remember a lot from those years. I was also stupidly oblivious to the world, as most kids are, so if the summer temps ever reached into the 100s, I likely wasn’t paying attention. However, I do remember the summertime ritual of setting a fan in my bedroom window (with help from my parents) at night. So there must have been some concern over summer heat at some point.
The second house, the one in which I spent my middle and high school years, I remember much more vividly. That was also the time when I learned about central air-conditioning being a thing in houses and how our house definitely did not have it and how truly sucky that was. Come summertime, my fuddy-duddy parents would open windows and set up fans, and that was that. And we never had enough fans, it seemed. The only consistent fact was that each of the houses’ four bedrooms had one – the nightly routine of setting up of a fan in the window remained a summer habit. In the general living spaces, I only ever remember moving around and fighting over a single fan, until my parents finally caved and splurged on a second fan for the downstairs. And we fought over that one, too. With three siblings, two fans, and various spaces that we could inhabit, it was inevitable.
Hence my mother going hoarse every summer in telling us to GO OUTSIDE. Which we did. And I again remember those summers being hot but not sweltering. Not humid and drippy and ohmyfuckinggodgivemetheac hot, just…summer time hot. And it was fine. Only that it kind of wasn’t every time I came home after being at a friend’s luxuriously A/C-managed house.
And then one year, my parents really caved and installed a window air-conditioner in their bedroom. If you thought three kids fighting over a fan was sadly hilarious, you should have seen us begging and pleading with them to watch TV in their room with the A/C on. But they had a “strict” policy of not having the unit on during the day…one that they broke on their own plenty. And they knew perfectly well that we snuck in there, too. Hell, I don’t know if I would have survived high school if I hadn’t been able to escape to their room every Sunday to watch MST3K and American Gladiators.
That makes no sense, but it’s true. That Nitro was one sexy motherfucker.
After college I moved to the deep south, and if I’m being honest, I didn’t really think about it being any hotter than my northeastern digs. But I learned very quickly that, at least in my new regional home. air-conditioning was the rule and not the exception. While the southern climate was generally warmer (my winter wardrobe mostly remained in boxes for the five years I was there), and things could feel particularly oppressive a few days during the summer, it was nowhere near as consistently hazy, hot, and humid as life feels right now (in my current northeastern digs).
Then again, I was rather drunk and high for a good portion of those five years, so maybe I was just stupidly oblivious to reality. Funny, that.
Fast forward to now, and no number of stiff vodka tonics could make me unaware of just how awful our summers have become and are becoming. The house in which we reside had central A/C when we moved in. But it completely conked out a few years after we moved in. At the time, having the system replaced was ridiculously expensive, and that’s when we began installing our current system of portable air-conditioners. They aren’t perfect, but since we don’t occupy all of the house at once, they are perfect for cooling down a particular room when we need it in a hurry.
Whether or not we ever get the central A/C fixed remains to be seen. There are plenty of other house issues to which we have to attend, and that one — despite the increasingly warm summers and our decreasing tolerances for such — just isn’t a high priority.
Plus, I somehow got a post out of all the randomly heated musings I’ve been having as this summer has worn on. Honestly, I think I miss being stupidly oblivious more than anything sometimes. I mean, I guess I could choose to be such, as it seems like it’s growing trend these days, but those stupidly oblivious times of the past are best left there.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go bask in some freely available A/C while the getting is good. No sense in wasting that when a 90-degree house is waiting for one at the end of the day.