We all take air conditioning for granted. Until the first heat wave of the year hits Berks County like a jackhammer and your central AC tanks more blatantly than a four-round club fighter getting his brains scrambled.
Oh, well. Nobody ever said that life was going to be one long and cool ride down velvet alley. Still, who said that life has to be like sticking your head into a blast furnace?
Each year I pray that my central air won’t go belly up as the temperature geysers up. I’m not a big fan of scorched eyebrows.
I admit I’m spoiled. I survived growing up without AC and I didn’t exactly melt into puddles of sweat. But that was then, and this is now.
Perhaps I’m now softer than butter left out of the fridge in a home without air conditioning. But I find heat to be a gnawing torment. Maybe I’m just less tolerant of irritants in the autumn of my life.
Heat can be a relentless brute from which no one can hide forever. And there have been times when our central air conked out and our home was hotter than hell.
On those wicked nights more than once I thought I spotted Lucifer himself sitting on a recliner in our family room, watching television. I guess high heat and suffocating humidity can make one hallucinate.
Again, not to dip into hyperbole, but there are thermal burn zones cooler than our house when the AC is on the fritz. The temps can be raging hot enough to make an atheist look to the sky and start praying for a light breeze to run its gentle fingers through the screens.
I find there’s no serenity when you’re sweating more profusely AFTER you shower. Equally uncomfortable is trying to sleep while covered in a sheet of sweat. Sheets of sweat don’t ride well in tandem with bed sheets.
At times when I’ve felt like I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name, you have no idea how much I longed for a glacial home atmosphere in which chattering teeth shred and shed into snow cones of enamel.
We simply were not born to live in a hothouse. My use of the word hothouse, by the way, was not just a cheap reach for a laugh. There have been times when our AC was out that tropical plants sprouted in our bedroom overnight. It looked the Amazon jungle when we awoke from our restless, drenching sleep.
Even though I get our central air serviced more frequently than I change underwear, I live in mortal fear that it will snap, crackle and pop just to spite me.
So, I spend hours in the summer squinting at our AC unit, doing my best impression of Clint Eastwood in the 1966 epic spaghetti Western The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.
Of course, I would be much better off if I invested in a new, state-of-the-art HVAC system. But I routinely spend all my disposable income on portable, oscillating fans on days when I’m suffering from heat stroke. Alas, all that wind power is nothing but a hot-air blowhard when it comes to high humidity