It was in the high 90s yesterday in New York. Once you’re out on the actual pavement, the heat is all you can think about. The cab I found had some air-conditioning and that gave my brain the room to think of other things. For me, in summertime, it also evokes memories, particularly for the child when all of these things were phenomenal, and many times a wonder. The barefoot boy.
Back on the street (with shoes on) – in this case Fifth Avenue in the 50s, it seemed even more intense. I walked by Abercrombie & Fitch on 56th and Fifth. They had their doors wide open with the cold air billowing onto the sidewalk. Same when you passed by Harry Winston and Bendel’s. So much cold air you can (very) briefly cool off just walking by. This always strikes me as absurd and begging consequence. A metaphor for the state we’re in. But I’ve got a list of those situations anyway, all mini-harangues for me.
I still don’t own an air-conditioner. I’m not a hold-out; I don’t want one. It used to be that I couldn’t afford one. Now I just don’t want one. It’s not as comfortable temperature-wise as my lobby but it’s a lot cooler than the pavement where all those bricks and mortar are heaving the heat at us.
I’ve got a fan in my bedroom and another near my desk. I also eliminate just about all my clothes I’m wearing, except what I need to answer the door. I keep a bottle of cold water nearby and I drink it often. This way I save the expense of the additional power cost and I also don’t have an ugly machine mucking up some of the little window space I have. It almost sounds like I’m roughing it except I’m old enough to remember when life was like this for everybody. I daresay it’s still like this for most of us humans, and the animals.
Don’t get me wrong, I like air-conditioning when I’m around it. I’m certainly thankful they air-conditioned the buses and subways. I’ll bet there are a lot of people out there who didn’t know that the buses and subway air-conditioning is very new. Actually omnipresent air-conditioning itself is still a fairly new addition for the masses, including the very rich. And cars too. You used to just roll down the car windows and turn the side vents outward to create a stream of cooler air. You didn’t always succeed.
I find when I am around air-conditioning, I like it cooler. Uh-huh. And I could hang out in it all day and all night with nary a complaint. I’m as big a consumer as any when tempted. But to what end, at what consequence may I ask? And ask and ask and ask. Or as my mother was fond of saying to her temperamental errant child, “we shall see said the blind man.” However, this is now and that is later.