Friday, May 27, 2011


So I have three awesome sisters who, despite their awesomicity, have essentially given up trying to actually pick out gifts for me. Instead, on every relevant day (Christmas, birthday...TWO MONTHS after my birthday from one of them this year--better late than never, right?) I get an email from telling me that one of them has sent put money in my account. Awesome, right? Shopping for yourself is always the best.

I know they didn't collaborate to make all this come together, but I have a feeling everyone in my family got sick of me whining last summer about how bloody hot it was. My bedroom gets HOT. I live in West Philly, and my room faces due south. And is on the third floor. And has black shingles overtop. HOT. So I spent what may have been an inappropriate amount of time last summer whining on Facebook, and towards September people started telling me, in effect, to stuff it. "You knew what your were getting into when you moved back east," was the main thrust of the, uh, feedback. "So deal with it."

I've thought about this more than you might think. I'm pretty troubled by the carbon footprint of a little single-room air conditioner and question whether or not the environmental cost is truly justified. Remember, I'm the guy that actually left the east coast for a hot minute (eight years). Air conditioners in Vermont? Sure sign that you're a Flatlander--someone with big city ideas and big city ways. You probably think a tractor is something you use to mow the lawn. And Seattle? The secret that every mossback knows and doesn't want to tell you is that the Pacific Northwest, in the summer? GORGEOUS. Clear skies for weeks on end, a steady breeze off of the Pacific (even as far inland as Seattle) and temperatures that rarely get above the mid 80s and usually drop to the 50s every night, even in August. There's truly no reason to have an air conditioner in Seattle. Except for my last summer there, of course. THAT'S when we saw the worst heat wave I've ever experienced. A full week of days over 100 degrees, and nights only dropping to the high 80s. I think we'd all admit that that's a legit heat wave. It was miserable. My sister, her daughter, and our dogs all huddled in the basement of our little bungalow because at least it was 10 degrees cooler down there. Long week.

But at this point I'm fairly convinced that within the BosWash Metroplex, air conditioning isn't strictly a luxury. When it's in the mid-80s at night in both temperature and humidity--and it stays that way for weeks on end--it starts having a deleterious effect on one's constitution. I really was going a bit nutsy last summer, mostly because I couldn't get any sleep. I'm a poor sleeper anyway, so combine my rampant insomnia with positively gooey climate conditions...I was a mess in August. Little bit dumb.

So I got home late yesterday afternoon after work, and when I walked into my bedroom I had a little bit of a flashback to last summer. It was hot yesterday. Not as hot as it's going to be, we all know that. But yesterday was definitely the first genuinely hot day of the year (great day for Ted's strawberry granita, incidentally!). I had a pretty visceral reaction and flew to my laptop. I'd been eyeing air conditioners on for a few weeks, not really sure if I was committed to the idea of sucking down all that petrochemically derived electricity. The breaking point? I put my hand on my bed. It was warm to the touch. So: an air conditioner for me this summer, due to the help of my awesomely awesome sisters. And even as I'm writing this, I got the email from telling me that my order had shipped. So...what, Tuesday, maybe? And I'm heading to my mom's place in Cape May for the weekend...yeah, I can hold out. Tonight might be a little...moist. But I know that when things are f'real in July, I'll be sleeping like a delightfully chilly little bear.

And I make you this promise: you won't hear me complain about how cold it is come December. Different blog post, that.

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