Yes, it’s hot and I want to thank you Lord, for air conditioning.
I’m serious. I want to formally and officially thank our Good Lord for air conditioning, because without the ability to escape the heat for a bit and sleep at night, I’d be one crabby, nasty, terribly unpleasant human being to live with.
I have to laugh at myself, because as I sit in my kitchen typing, gratefully at peace with the warm but tolerable temperature, vs the hot and sticky muck outside, I am drawn back to a memory of my youth, living in Oregon.
As I recall, I was about 6 or 8 and we were living on the west side of town, in a brand new sub-division. We had moved from California and I thought it was the coolest thing to be on a cup-de-sac, with acres of hay fields to play in as our back yard. Pause for a moment and let that sink in. New development….fields. Yep, no shade. Gratefully, Oregon is fairly temperate and doesn’t get too hot nor very cold. In fact, being a zone 8 (gardening term) it ranges from 20-90 degrees, but with only a handful of days in those extremes, if it ever got that ‘extreme’. A typical, average day runs between 50-70 deg most of the year. Thus, many homes do not have a/c there, and when I was growing up, this exposed little house did not.
The sweltering run of hot days this summer brings to my recollection a particular ‘heat wave’ of one summer in that house. What was probably only days, felt like weeks of 90 degree weather. My brother’s and my little bodies, (children tend to run hot anyway) felt like they were going to instantaneously combust. Poof! I was convinced my mother would wake and we’d be ashes. It was so hot, this little child refused to sleep in anything other than cotton undies, and I recall my thoughtful mother bringing in a small fan to blow air on the sweating little bodies, in a failed attempt to keep us cool enough to sleep. Despite the near Adam and Eve-like state, the thin sheet over the top of me felt as heavy as a woolen winter blanket.
It’s rather humbling to be reminded of how spoiled I live as an adult. Not everyone has a/c, and with this long stretch of brutal hotness, I am even more grateful for the inspired invention of cooled air. I think of how life has changed due to what is seemingly such a simple idea and product. I marvel at the freedom and power of the American free market to make a once expensive, elusive and desired symbol of wealth and privilege, in to something the everyday common man can attain and afford. Think about it for a moment. We travel, for the most part, in comfort. We work, for the most part, in comfort. There are places for everyone to escape the heat, public buildings, restaurants, coffee shops, libraries, gas stations, malls, community centers. It has become such an everyday, accepted luxury of living in America, I think sometimes it’s good to be humbled and be reminded of how truly blessed we are. It’s easy to get caught up in the difficulties of living, and so pausing for a moment to relish the little things can be a tonic to the life-worn soul.
And so, as I peer through the steamy double pane windows out in to that sauna, called summer in Minnesota, I turn my face to the heavens and thank my Good Father for, what to Him is a just one of the many ‘simple’ gifts He showers on us in this broken and flawed world of ours…Air Conditioning.