Now that everything’s air conditioned, we can hardly stand summer.
We finally bought an air conditioner. On the way home, my wife said, “Welcome to the 21st century.”
Relax, dear, so we’ve sweat all these summers. Are we not better for it?
She sighed. “It’s too hot to go there.”
The air conditioner begs the question, “How did they survive without it?” They did quite well, thank you.
Our ancestors’ initial brush with artificial coolness came at the movies. They were first to chill out, with a system that blew air over ice. It became so popular, folks flocked to the movies for the air instead of the films.
Check the old photos of theaters. In huge letters on the marquee: “COOL INSIDE.” Walk in, ooh, this is nice. Three minutes later, we were so cold our teeth hurt.
Those of us without 50 cents for tickets simmered all summer, but we didn’t notice the heat. We played tetherball every afternoon, no matter what.
It seemed to get hotter at night. If we were frying, we’d go for fast rides in the car, then stop for skyscraper cones. Our dogs loved that.
My room was upstairs, hottest place in the house. I didn’t even have a fan. And I wore flannel jammies. And I walked 12 miles to school. OK, settle down.
Fast forward to today. Air-conditioned house. Air conditioned car. Air-conditioned store. Air-conditioned job. Air-conditioned dog. Our only brush with summer is the hot dash to the car.
So I lugged the magic box upstairs and put it in the window, almost losing a sweaty grip.
It’s not all joy with that humming miracle. Every time the compressor kicks in, I’m thinking, there goes another 25 cents. I enjoy listening to late trains in bed and awaking to birds celebrating the dawn. With an air conditioner, it’s all hummm ...
That’s mesmerizing, addicted to a machine.
We noticed something. The more AC, the less we tolerate heat. It seems a lot hotter outside when you go from air conditioning. Waiting for the car AC to kick in seems forever.
Then we had a power outage on the hottest day of the year. We were frying. Then I remembered the movies. We paid our $8 and sat through “Zardoz” (Sean Connery in a loin cloth fights a giant flying stone head that preaches safe sex to a commune of hippies). It only made sense in 1974.
We just closed our eyes and enjoyed the air, like we did back when.
We went home and the power was back, saving our lives. Are we wimps for that? You bet. Do you want to go back? Hell no.
Contact Jim Hillibish at firstname.lastname@example.org.