Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Gratituesday: Air Conditioning

One of the bourgiest things about me is that I am really unhappy when the temperature rises.  I get really cranky, really sweaty, and sometimes I huff and puff and actually cry because that is how little I like the feeling of being hot.  I am of the opinion that one can always put on more clothes, but there's a limit to how much you can take off.*  Even naked, I am often sweltering.

As a result, I have always loved air conditioning.  I remember being a little girl (or, you know. a 17-year-old girl.) and sitting next to the big air conditioner in my parents' house with a blanket over me and the AC, creating a bubble of cold air.  I like being in movie theaters, in the conference room at my office that's always frigid, and walking past shops that keep their doors open.

That said, I also feel really guilty about blasting the AC when I know it's not particularly good for the environment, when so many people do real work in the sun and don't complain about it, and when Roger brags pretty much every second of everyday over 85 degrees about how he doesn't even feel heat anymore, since Senegal made him immune.**

So, for years, I didn't have one.  When I lived in Vermont, there was no need for one; there were hot days, but a fan sufficed and mostly it was fully of lovely breezes off the mountains.  My summers in New York City were remarkably cool, and I could always manage the few hot weeks with staying late at the office and seeing movies.  And then, the two summers I was at my parents' house, I lived in their basement, where it was always the perfect temperature.  (Turns out that living with your walls mostly underground will keep things cool in the summer and warm in the winter.  It was wonderful.)

But earlier this year, with the offer of a free AC and the knowledge that our apartment does not get a divine cross-breeze, Roger and I headed to Brooklyn where we (okay, he) carried an AC from our friend's apartment all the way to Harlem via subway.  It was really heavy, and a giant pain to carry, but I think Roger knew both how much I hate to be hot and how much I hate to spend money, and he was a champ, bringing it across the boroughs like Atlas carrying the great celestial sphere.  And I cannot say how much I appreciate it.

And how do I mitigate my guilt about having the privilege to control the temperature of my surroundings?  Well, mostly I try to be really good about electricity use, turning off all our lights and unplugging (much to Roger's dismay) all our appliances, so I feel like that must help a little bit.  And, I only run the AC at night, when we're in the bedroom and trying to sleep, and I never run it when ConEd is on a shortage, so that assuages my guilt a little bit.  I also hope to have solar panels one day and give back to the grid.  And finally, I appreciate the wonderful feeling of being cool on a hot day with every fiber of my being.  It's really glorious.

*In fact, since buying my first down coat, I honestly don't even mind the winter.  If I had to drive, that might be a different story.  But as it is, I'm a fall-winter girl all the way.
**God.  Shut up about it, Roger!


  1. Haha! I am extremely intolerant of being hot too. I absolutely hate sweating when I don't want to sweat, especially when it means my hair will be a mess and my face will get shiny! It makes me more cranky than it should. And you're right about basement living--our landlady has AC on a lot for her but it is always such a great temperature in the basement, even when we lost power for a few days on the hottest days of the year we managed to stay cool.

    1. I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one! I can't stand when I look like a slob just because I stepped outside for 15 minutes!

  2. Well, you guys are really lucky for having that free air conditioner. Congratulations! There will be no more huffing and puffing, and crying out because you guys are now experiencing the cool comfort that a free AC can give you every day!

    Darryl Iorio

  3. Believe it or not, there are actually people who perspire quicker as compared to others, and that’s just natural. But you’re definitely lucky to have found AC for your apartment! All thanks to Roger for fetching it for you, just so you don’t have to go get it yourself! Is the unit brand new or used? In any case, you should change the filter every month to ensure that you’re getting the most out of the unit. That should also help with the maintenance!

    @Alyssa Flynn