By Jason Menard
Let me start off by asking a favour of all of you people out there who spend all year professing your love for summer. Stop lying!
You see I’m married to one of you, and with the hotter weather here we’re in the midst of our annual seasonal battle – the ongoing war of the air conditioner. I’m sure many of you can relate to this friendly skirmish because I see and hear from sympathetic soldiers all the time.
My wife is one of those self-professed summer lovers. The problem is that as soon as the heat hits the air conditioner is set to Nuclear Winter. What I find pleasant in the house is insufferable for my wife, so the air conditioner is clicked on in the name of marital harmony.
Outdoors is no better. We hop in our air-conditioned car to drive to the nearest air-conditioned store or restaurant. And as I look around, I notice others in the same predicament as I – rushing desperately from their cars to the doors, only to emit an audible sigh when that door is opened and the first blast of air conditioned air hits them.
I’m a winter person, plain and simple. At least in winter, you can always put more clothes on, or bundle up. In summer, there’s only so much you can take off before you get arrested. I’d like to think that my opposition to air conditioning is as much out of environmental concern, but I can’t get that image of deliriously happy hydro employees rubbing their hands with glee as they watch the dial on my meter spin.
But I think my biggest problem with the summer is waking up to ‘The Mummy.’ And I know I’m not alone in this one (although I hope I’m the only one waking up with my ‘Mummy’, otherwise my wife’s got some ‘splaining to do…). Usually, I’m first to bed, so I trundle upstairs, shut off the air conditioner, and fall into bed – sometimes under a light sheet, other times not. However, each morning I awake to frost hanging from my nose as I shiver on my side of the bed. I look over to find my wife wrapped in two, sometimes three, blankets in a sort of slumber cocoon – and the air conditioner chugging away in the background.
And what does she say when I ask to turn it off? ‘It’s too hot!’ Now, that couldn’t be because of the linen womb she’s wrapped in, but who am I to judge.
Our society has become slaves to Freon. Walk down any street and instead of the sounds of birds chirping the ambient noise is supplied by the gentle hum of central air and window units. Of course, that would mean walking outside, which is so inconveniently non-air conditioned. But try it some time.
The heat dynamic isn’t just limited to one’s home life either. It can be found at work. Take a poll of your office, shop, place of business today, and out of 10 people you’ll find at least half who find the place too hot or too cold, while the rest are fine.
These alleged summer worshippers have developed their own lingo to justify their rejection of the summer heat. Phrases like, ‘It’s the humidity,’ or ‘this weather makes my hair curl’ are common place. Homes are essentially hermetically sealed to keep the forces of nature at bay.
What do we do about this? Do we institute thermal compatibility testing before granting marriage licenses? Should temperature endurance be a criterion for employers? I don’t have the answer – and with the dog days of August upon us the problem will only get worse.
I believe air conditioning has its place – especially when the mercury truly rises. But I don’t want to give up those moments when I can drive with my windows down, or revel in the cool night breeze that cuts through the day’s oppressive humidity.
Those of you who profess your love for summer, then spend it only in climate-controlled locations – stop fooling yourselves and pick a new season! If you love something, you’ve got to take the bad with the good. Personally, I’m counting down the days until the cooler weather arrives. And, at that time, if you see me listening with a smile on my face to someone complain about how summer’s too short, you’ll know why.
2005 © Menard Communications – Jason Menard All Rights Reserved