Nathan Hansen: Bring on that cool, cool air
I’m getting soft in my old age.
Or maybe it’s my advancing middle age. Does that sound better? It probably does.
I’m getting soft in my advancing middle age. I’m also getting soft in my middle. The two might be related.
The unsettling reality of the situation is hitting me in several ways. It’s increasingly clear I can no longer hope to ride my bike once a week and to come home from that long weekend ride ready to do anything more productive than collapse onto the couch. But, I mean, collapse onto the couch in the most vital and active way possible.
I’ve been known to strain a muscle just leaning the wrong way in my computer chair. And I’m almost certain the window has closed for me to become a UFC fighting champion.
Then there’s the air conditioning. I’ve definitely gotten softer when it comes to air conditioning.
The two cars I owned before my previous vehicle went through extended stretches at the end of their lives where the air conditioning did not work. It made for some uncomfortable driving at times, particularly in the car that had leather seats. Buckling the seatbelt carried the risk of burns if you accidentally brushed against the metal parts. But what the heck? It made life that much more exciting.
I didn’t have any AC in my house for the first six or so years I owned it, either. I didn’t think I could find one to fit the narrow windows in my bedroom. And besides, I figured, there’s really only a handful of days each year when it really feels necessary.
Granted, those days could be pretty miserable. The downstairs of my house stays relatively comfortable thanks to a collection of trees in my yard that provides shade in the summer and days on end of raking-related soreness in the fall.
Or, it would if I raked. Leaves make good mulch, right?
The upstairs, where my bedroom is, has always been a different story. When sweltering day followed sweltering day and the heat built up, getting to sleep could become a nightmare. Or, not a nightmare. You have to be able to fall asleep to have a nightmare. And I’m pretty sure fighting off Freddy Kruger or walking the halls of my school naked and having forgotten to study for my final exam would have been better than trying to sleep on some of those nights.
Still, it could be managed. At least, that’s what I told myself.
I finally gave in a couple of summers ago. I found a window AC I could install in my bedroom. It’s a little noisy and it’s not very powerful, but it cools the bedroom off nicely, and if I close the door at the top of my stairs it can keep both of my upstairs rooms pretty comfortable. That’s important, because one of those rooms is where I sleep and the other one is where I have my TV. That makes them the most important rooms in the house. Well, those two and the bathroom, I guess.
In the beginning, the AC was an occasional thing. It was there for those truly beastly days. But that’s changing. This year, I hauled it up out of the basement at the first sign of potentially sticky weather. It ran full blast all through last weekend. It has become my new best friend.
As I write this, it is Sunday night. The internet tells me the temperature outside is an entirely reasonable 71 degrees. The internet also tells me there are at least 19 giant animals I won’t believe exist, but that doesn’t really apply here.
71 degrees is a pretty reasonable temperature, and yet, I unplugged my laptop from my downstairs office and brought it upstairs so I could work in the unnatural chill of climate control. I luxuriated while a hunk of noisy metal burned electricity and probably did some other not-yet-discovered damage to the environment, making the Earth even hotter, and guaranteeing I’ll run my AC even more.
I’d do it all again, too.
What did I tell you? Soft.