Ahh, cool.

This morning we finally got the air conditioning going at our apartment here in Boston. One window unit is next to my desk here in my attic office, which had been an oven up until today. We had another one put in at the far end of the attic as well, so that space can now serve as a useful guest room. The third one went in the “master” bedroom (which isn’t much bigger than a closet). This means I might be able to sleep under covers tonight, rather than laying spread out in the path of a window fan.

The rest of the house will continue to suffer, with summer misery lightened by cheap window fans in every room.

It’s amazing to me that most of my life has been lived without much benefit of AC. We didn’t have it in any of the three houses where I grew up in New Jersey. (Well, my parents put in a unit for the dining room about the time I was shipped off to high school. Before that the home was cooled by an exhaust fan.) We didn’t have it in any of the public schools I attended, or in the high school where I lived for three years. We didn’t have it in my college dorm, or in most of the classrooms. Or in any of the places I lived off-campus. This was in Greensboro, NC, where it gets plenty hot in up to four seasons of the year.

I didn’t have AC that worked in any of the cars I drove, until I finally bought the first and only new car I ever had: a 1985 Camry.

With the single exception of a double-wide back in the woods that we lived in for a year north of Chapel Hill, there was no AC worthy of the label at any of the houses and appartments I occupied during my 20 years in North Carolina. Nor in the additional 5 years I spent in New Jersey before moving south.

Among all the houses I’ve occupied in California, I think only one had AC that was worth a damn. Our house in Santa Barbara has none and doesn’t need any. The climate there does the job.

Anyway, I’m enjoying the luxury, even if it’s noisy and environmentally unfriendly. (Though I’m told that window units are more efficient than central ones. We can always use good rationalizations.)

4 comments

  1. docduke’s avatar

    I live in New Mexico where it gets hot, but the humidity is low. We use “swamp coolers,” which blow air through the house after humidifying it, which drops the temperature 10 or 15 degrees.

    There is a more interesting solution west of here, however. The “oldest continuously occupied city in North America” is on the west edge of New Mexico. It is Acoma Sky City. I have been there when it’s 110 oF outside, and the thick adobe walls and ceiling keep the inside temperature in the 70s .. and they do that with mud! We can be environmentally friendly, and cool, without being high-tech!

  2. cthrall’s avatar

    Ceiling fan has been working overtime in our home office in Dorchester. The last few days have been hot. It has been a really nice break to walk the dogs down to the beach at night and sit in the cooling sea breeze.

    Glad to hear you are doing better btw.

  3. Sue Polinsky’s avatar

    Wave to Doc!
    I don’t know if you did high school in Greensboro, but I taught on the 3rd floor of the main building at Grimsley for a few years and had to get pregnant for the thankfully old-fashioned principal to decide to move me to a first floor classroom! (good old days…) Since my own kids have graduated, all the Greensboro public schools are now air-conditioned.

    Were we tougher? Heck, A/C is simply better. When they said that a/c “opened up the South,” they were right.

    Got time to join us at ConvergeSouth this October 17? BlogHer is the very next day and we’d love to have you on the video tour. All is at http://2008.convergesouth.com.

  4. Doc Searls’s avatar

    Hey, Sue.

    Actually my Greensboro years were spent at Guilford College (Class of ’69). I grew up in Maywood, New Jersey, and went to public schools there through the 9th grade, after which my parents sent me to Concordia Collegiate Institute in Bronxville, New York, which I half-jokingly call a “Lutheran academic correctional institution.” That’s what it was for me, anyway… or why I was sent there. It’s gone now.

    One way or another I was a North Carolinian from 1965-1985, when I left for Silicon Valley. Still miss it.

    I’ll check out ConvergeSouth when I can read small type again. Right now I’m typing with vision blurred by dilation drops. Just had my eyes tested.

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