Unlike most people I do not like or use air conditioning unless there is no other choice for me. I have had weird experiences with this mechanical wonder for as long as I can remember. It is a rare time when I am happy or comfortable with the benefits that others laud air-conditioning for.
First and foremost everyone I know who has central air, a unit in their house or car, keep the temperature below freezing, so it seems to me. I have a most difficult time keeping warm in the winter, so why then should it be necessary for me to wear a sweatshirt in the summer? That’s right, it shouldn’t be necessary. Hot is the order of the season.
In my younger years not everyone had air-conditioning in their cars. I remember Jim and I driving around in my mother’s 1960 Studebaker, Lark. It was about 90 degrees in the shade and we were very young. We were driving along Bruckner Blvd in the Bronx and while almost every other car on the road had all their windows rolled way down to catch a bit of breeze, we rode with ours closed up tight, pretending to have an air-conditioned car. Needless to say, we were sweating our brains out, but we smiled and waved to others. Fortunately, we arrived at Orchard Beach before either one of us passed out. Ah to be so young, stupid, and healthy enough to pull such a stunt.
I have quite a few air conditioning mishaps. There was the time when I was about eight months pregnant. I walked from our apartment through the broiling hot streets into an air-conditioned bank which was kept about 65 degrees. You guessed it, the sudden change in temperature almost caused me to pass out. Thank goodness for the old-fashioned benches in the bank, and the glass of water provided by the security guard who manned the front door. I did mention I was pregnant, hence several decades ago. You would be hard pressed to find benches in today’s modern banks, never mind a visible, armed, security guard.
Then there was that very wet ride to Virginia Beach when the air conditioning unit went bad and dripped cold water on my foot all the way to Kyra’s house. I wore sandals that day. My toes were pruned for hours after our arrival. On the way home the unit went on fire and we had to drive real fast to put it out. It worked, but I wouldn’t advise that it was the best course of action. I guess the leaking should have given us an inclination that something had gone amiss.
In St. Martin the air conditioner in our room leaked all night long. Unbeknownst to us. It was a wet surprise when we awoke in the morning ready to jump in our bathing suits and head off to the beach. We should have brought those suits into bed with us. After placing our feet on the floor we found we were almost ankle-deep in water. I won’t mention how many days it took the hotel management to fix it. Being me, I was happier with the ceiling fan. If the air conditioner had worked I would have required a quilt while staying on the Caribbean Island.
There were several other incidents where air conditioning was the cause of much angst. These symbols of creature comforts, haunt me. To this day we do not own an air conditioner. I bring sweaters with me whenever I visit friends, or especially when I visit my children in their homes. Each has central air and are most comfortable in igloo type conditions. It is a sad commentary when I am offered a hot drink and a blanket upon entering their beautiful homes, in the midst of July!!