Air Conditioning, dislocated // David LeGault
I write this while sitting underneath a small, window air conditioner, one that barely cools the space around me, not to mention the entire room. Outside, the temperature clocks in at 91 degrees with humidity somewhere between 70 and 80 percent, the heat index somewhere in the triple digits, completely obscene.
I hate summer. It has certain advantages--lots of free time--barbecues, swimming--but for the most part the weather cancels out everything good. Anything about 75 degrees and I become lethargic, practically comatose: a pile of sweat lying on a basement couch, miserable.
Perhaps this is why I chose to live in Minnesota: I prefer, in fact love, the profound cold we experience for the majority of the year. January brings sub-zero temperatures and mountains of snow and ice and I couldn't be happier. One can dress for the cold--put on another layer, buy a thicker jacket. For a writer, the winter gives a legitimate excuse to hole up in front of a desk, to write all day if necessary.
I didn't sign up for this kind of heat, this pleasant surprise to those around me, the expectation to enjoy weather that's entirely unenjoyable.
And so. Air conditioning. My wife and I just spent our first time homeowner's tax credit on a new heating system for our house, one that includes glorious, unstoppable Central Air conditioning. I'm more excited about this than could be considered reasonable. Through giant fans and mysterious chemicals, the air conditioning unit--this two-ton humming cube in my backyard--takes the hot humid air and transforms it into something unrecognizable. It rids the air of its moisture as well (there's this strange water pump running on all cylinders in my basement, sending water through a long series of tubes into a floor drain, a process that's incredibly fun to watch).
Central air defies logic, defies the genre of summer. It should be hot but it is cool. It makes life tolerable, happy. Like the written word, it takes us to a place that once seemed impossible.