Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Against Climate Control, Briefly

This was an exercise from Craig Childs' workshop that I thought would be fitting for this hot weather we've been having in New England.

Here in the north, it's a big hulking thing hauled from the musty basement at the end of May, maybe June, and wedged in an open window with some cursing and perhaps a smashed finger or two. No longer are hot, humid summer evenings spent dripping sweat, immersed in a bath of humid air, sitting on a shaded porch with a can of beer or glass of lemonade beaded with condensation, engaging in lazy summer talk with the neighbor, who's likewise escaped his unbearably hot house for the front porch to watch the thunder clouds build up in the distance. Now, we have “climate control.” Every day, every season the same carefully moderated temperature. You put it on in the car, wear a sweater at the office while the 90 degree sun glints off the building outside. You go to the cool restaurant so you don't have to cook and there you can order red wine or a soup, even, because it's always the same stale temperature. Wasn't there something valuable, something you can't put your finger on, about trying to sleep on hot summer nights with the sheets kicked impatiently around your ankles and a creaky fan billowing the curtains while you toss and dream of icebergs, ice cream cones?

I hate air conditioning.

Plus, it's expensive to run. But maybe I'm romanticizing a past that was never was, as I have a tendency to do. And I can't deny that there are places where air conditioning is a blessing. I thought I'd won my own personal war against the evil A/C if I could deny its whirring siren song in the steamy river valley where I grew up or in the swamps of Florida. But four degrees north of the equator on a sun-baked strip of coral, stepping out of the plane is like getting punched in the face with a wall of heat. Immediately, even your belly button starts sweating. There's nothing else like it. I knew I'd be spending 11 months in that heat without so much as a window fan, and so for that first month, in the capital, I relished the luxury of sleeping on the floor, sardine-style, in an air-conditioned kindergarten classroom crawling with cockroaches. I would push open the door and collapse into the cold, dark air, loving every second of it.

1 comment:

  1. Nice! I like this. Well exercised.


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