Right now I’m feeling very indebted to the person who invented the Air Conditioner.
I’ve pretty much been living inside of one for the last few weeks.
And I can show you my electric bill to prove it.
But I don’t really care about the money; not really.
I think it’s a small price to pay to circumvent my inner thighs from producing that annoying swooshing sound they make whenever I combine walking and excessive perspiration.
A gift from the gods of Freon...or whatever it is they use these days to freeze my nose hairs.
If you’re under 40 you probably think, what’s the big deal?
Once it gets hot all you need do is hop from your air conditioned abode to your air conditioned car or train or bus, to your air conditioned work place or school, to your air conditioned cafe, grocery store, movie theater, Bingo parlor or pool hall...and then hop right back to your air conditioned abode.
And what’s with all the hopping?
I guess because you’re under 40 and you want to show off.
Well, to those of us over 40—and then some—it’s a very big deal.
To those of us who’ve spent countless July, August and sometimes September nights, tossing and turning, flipping and flopping, stuck to balled up sodden sheets and pillow cases....it’s a very BIG deal.
To those of us who lived in a time when the only relief you could hope to achieve was by positioning some sort of creaky old fan—rumored to have been brought over to America by Vespucci himself—directly into your face, despite the vortex of cat hair it caused to swirl about the room, which was disturbing on many levels, especially since you didn’t even own a cat...you would know...it’s a very COOL BIG DEA...all hopping aside.
I say modern air conditioner because folks have been trying to find ways to keep cool...well, ever since they’ve been hot.
Which goes back a ways.
Maybe past the 50s.
Or even the 40s and 30s.
But definitely not the 20s.
In the 20s everyone was cool...23 skidoo!
Apparently, waaaaay back in the day-day-day, some rich Romans even thought to have water from the aqueducts diverted through the walls of their homes to try and cool things down.
Which worked for a while until it was determined that the endless sound of trickling it produced coming through the walls was the reason the lines at the public urinals had become insufferable.
For real...I read it somewhere.
Or else I made it up.
Not sure which.
When I grew up (relatively speaking) in the 60’s it was still pretty rare to have an air conditioner in your home, let alone two or three. Let alone central air...let alone in your car, school or office.
If you wanted some relief on a hot summer day you had to take in a movie or, under the direst of circumstances, make a trip to the local library. Maybe even read a book.
But for the most part we showered and changed shirts...a lot...but probably not as often as we should.
In any case, toward the end of the 1970s, they finally figured out how to produce these air conditioner things at a fairly reasonable price, and now, I’m happy to say, I can sleep through the night without waking up to a facsimile of the shroud of Turin wrapped around my sweat soaked bod.
Yep, that’s right. I actually broke down sometime around mid-1980 and bought my very own air conditioned dream machine, which eventually expanded into a system that makes my entire house habitable when needed...and my pits have been dry ever since.
Unless I’m buying coffee at Starbucks and that big woman with the mustache is the Barista.
She makes me nervous...sue me.