Baby It’s HOT Out There!
by Ana Grarian
It has cooled down to 84 in my room. Outside it is 67, breezy, and absolutely devine. For some reason, even with all the doors and windows open, and fans running, we can’t get the indoor temperature down to bearable. I wish I understood better why that is.
Every summer I consider running the air conditioner. My idea was to install it in the largest bedroom. That way we could all sleep in that room, and also hang out together during the hottest evenings. The only problem (besides having to lug the thing upstairs) is that room is on the hottest corner of the house. Would that be the least efficient use of the a/c?
I have tried leaving the attic door open in an attempt to get the hot air to chimney out. Sometimes I think it works. Sometimes I think it just makes the second floor hotter. I have considered putting a LARGE fan in the attic window, but the neighbors report that it doesn’t work all that well. I have heard of using your furnace to pull hot air from the house and push the cooler basement air, but I can’t get my furnace to turn on. Perhaps this unit has a system to keep it from running if there is no gas turned on? I put aluminum foil on the living room window that catches the late afternoon sun, and I do think that helped. I have blinds on the windows in the hottest bedroom, and we try to regulate the curtains in the other rooms.
On principle I am against using air conditioning, and I’m concerned about the fans. Everything we use is making the situation worse by generating heat, and requiring the generation of electricity which generates heat and contributes to global warming through the burning of fossil fuels. Then there is mountain top removal for coal, tar sands and Fracking for gas, Nuclear power plants with environmental and safety concerns, and on and on.
I do admit to enjoying the a/c at work without too much guilt. Same for stores, restaurants, movie theaters, etc. The a/c would be on whether I am there or not.
In a rational world we would adjust our activities to coincide with the climate. The longer hours of sunshine mean we could get up at the crack of dawn to work, sleep through the hottest part of the day, and work again in the cool of the evening. Ah – but that would disrupt our money making machine which must operate 24/7/365, the same today as it was yesterday. We must work just as hard at 95 degrees as at 30 and do it while looking neat and tidy and if we just stepped off the pages of Vanity Fair. Our hair must be in place an our shoes tied. Given those restrictions we ride to work in closed up air conditioned cars because if we walked we would melt.
Yesterday I saw a family enjoying the 4th with their friends in a rather unique cool way. They had their lawn chairs circled around a kiddie pool and they all had their feet in it. I keep an ice pack in the freezer which I put on my back or neck when I first get home from work. I also have a spray bottle which I use when sitting or sleeping in front of the fan. It works!
I am thankful to work in a casual environment where, though yes, we must be neat and tidy, our dress code is not restrictive, and the occasional bare feet are overlooked. Living on the flats I can bike to work and give my old dog a rest by letting her ride in a trailer. I get up early to enjoy the quiet and to weed before the heat of the day. We are able to push dinner later into the evening, when it has cooled down a bit.
I think I need to put a mattress on the front porch. The neighbors might find it odd, but I could use a good night’s sleep.