Can you feel it?
I grew up in a world without any air
conditioning. My parents eschewed
the concept of a mechanically cooled
environment. Rather they preferred
to sit, stew, and steam. Summers in
the city are not exactly pleasant. The
humidity alone can drown one in their
own sweat. Even after moving down
to the tidewaters of Virginia, they
opted to rarely turn on a cooling aid.
Instead Ethel would balmily bask on
her screened porch purring "Feel that
breeze? Isn't it beautiful out here?"
Frankly, I never saw Mother sweat.
Ladies of her vintage and breeding
simply didn't perspire. No matter
the temperature Ethel would sit in
stately serenity never looking even
slightly dewy. I truly envy people
who can maintain a cool, calm, and
collected demeanor in defiance to
whatever the thermometer reads.
Do they have an inner thermostat?
Given my hot flashes, mine has
ceased functioning. Can anything
cure my "MAN-OH-PAUSE?!"
Over the years after I left my parent's
home I quickly came to rely on those
blasts of freon that only mechanized
magic can deliver. Sizzling summers
in Chicago, Columbus, Minneapolis,
and Manhattan were merciless at times.
The humidity alone was overwhelming!
Hence air conditioning was more than
simply a desirable indulgence. While
living in Dallas, air conditioning could
only be described as a survival tool!
Many days I never left a controlled
climate and that was just fine with me!
Whatever we can't have, we crave.
The first time I visited Beverly Hills,
I was shocked to see women sporting
sables as they shopped within the
crispy climes of Rodeo Drive shops.
In Dallas everyone seems to keep
their thermostats hovering around
sixty degrees. Hence my need to
wear cashmere by day and sleep
under a down comforter while the
temperature outside sat at over one
hundred Fahrenheit. Is the ultimate
luxury freezing your ass off!
As a boy my family escaped the heat
in New England where our summer
sojourns were always quite cool. Who
wouldn't enjoy mid day temperatures
in the low eighties and night time lows
in the forties? All with virtually NO
humidity. Now that we're in Montana,
I am once again reliving the summer
temperatures of my youth. With few
exceptions our summer days here are
perfectly glorious. Plus most nights
require a sweater on your shoulder
and blanket on your bed. Divine!
Go with the flow
In Montana, air conditioning is
a rarity. Global warming aside,
there isn't much of a reason for
it. We embrace the rituals of our
youth sleeping with the windows
wide open. After many years of
residing in hermetically sealed
hi-rises, we had to adjust to this
breach of security. Once we are
awake, the house is quickly shut
up to keep the cool air inside.
Remarkably, the house stays
cool without using any voltage!
Our new (old) home is deftly designed
to maximize cross ventilation. All of a
sudden I've rediscovered that there may
be nothing more glorious that sitting in
the comfort of one's home enjoying a
gentle summer breeze. I find it oddly
satisfying and much more civilized than
subjecting my lungs to a spewed stream
of icy man made air. Am I channeling
my inner Ethel or is my body enjoying
being fully oxygenated? Now that I've
turned off the air conditioning, it seems
that I'm finally able to chill out!
Mother knows best
I'm not totally nuts. On the occasional
day when our temperatures soar above
ninety, I appreciate the benefits derived
from our portable air conditioners. As
I sit and chill, I find myself dreaming
of opening my windows once again.
For this former urbanite, going with
the natural flow makes me feel like
I'm communing with Mother Nature.
And while I hate to admit it, the basic
act of breathing in real air makes me
feel alive. It seems that once again my
Mother was right as always! DAMN!