The Seeker

A Meta-Cognitive Journal About Writing… Plus Other Stuff

Too Much Air Conditioning pt. 1

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There was no air conditioning in the house in which I grew up.  We weren’t poor; it was just that no plans were ever made for AC when the house was built by the previous owner.  The house has been standing for around 50 years now, and still no AC.  I don’t remember it being much of an issue when I was younger.  It got hot plenty of times in the summer, which is no surprise in the Midwest or in northeast Indiana, but we dealt with it.  I don’t recall anybody ever pining for cool streams of air to be push through the ductwork of the house (ductwork that would have to have been installed, mind you).  We never bought window units.  We had a few fans, a lot of open windows, and shade trees on the west side of the house.  This is not to say that we were tougher back in the day, or that we suffered silently, it’s just to say that not having air conditioning was a fact of life.

I didn’t have the luxury of air conditioning until I was 28 years old and moved into my third apartment.  Granted, it was in Indianapolis, and once you get down to central Indiana and further south, AC goes from being a luxury to a necessity.  I grew up 3 hours north of there, though, and the days we really needed AC we so few that they didn’t justify the cost of getting it.  Since that time, my brother and I have posited that if you grew up without AC, you can live without AC.  I’ve reconsidered that notion now that the worse drought I’ve experienced is coming to an end.  Unfortunately, necessitated continual, days-long use of the air conditioning in my condominium.

I say with a cautious note of optimism that the beastly heat and brown dryess is coming to an end.  We’ve had rain for three consecutive days, and that has been enough to soften the pessimism of even the most hard-bitten among us who say the drought won’t end any time soon.  But it’s not the drought that bothers me so much as it is the brutal heat.  I’ve had the AC on more days this summer than I think I have the last 4 or 5 summers combined, and it omnipresence has had a significant effect on me.  I grew up with the open air, and feel that I’m cheating myself of the nice weather and summer disposition if I keep my AC on and the windows closed.  I keep the balcony door open almost 24/7, and want to be able to pass freely back and forth at all times.  Plus, Miss Kitty loves being out there to hunt bugs, sleep on the furniture, and enjoy the shade.

Is it hot out here, or is it just me?

When it comes to having the AC on for more than a day, I get edgy.  I feel too cooped up.  I get cranky.  I curse the circumstances that seem to make extreme weather the norm.  It’s the usual list of suspects:  pollution, pollution, pollution.  And we combat that by using more energy, wasting more resources, and doing whatever we need in order to get more, more, more cool air and comfort.  These contemplations are enough to wreck my usual cool summertime vibe.  What’s worse is when I look around and see people continually sealed up in their houses and condos even when it’s a mere 80-85 .  My mind gets to reeling about how we shut ourselves off from all the damning consequences of our reliance upon artificial energy by shutting ourselves off and using even more artificial energy.  You don’t see your neighbors, people don’t interact, and instead of acclimating ourselves to fluctuating conditions, we try to normalize the situation.  To me, it’s something that is much deeper than fighting the weather.  It feels like a societal issue that is merely painted on this canvas; our actions are symbolic of what is actually going on with isolation, normalization, and misuse of resources as a society.


Written by seeker70

July 26, 2012 at 9:06 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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