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Thursday, June 24, 2010

"Sweaty" is the New Black

You may not know this – despite the e-mail blasts and the tattoos my friends insist on getting in my name – but I cling to the Old Ways (ie home trepanning and milling my own soap).

OK. I don’t mill my own soap.

Here we are, my friends: it’s the end of June, and I just may turn the air conditioning on.

I mentioned that to some friends today, that I was thinking of turning the air on. They laughed, because, ha ha, what kind of nut hasn't turned on their air conditioning yet?

One look at my sincere and sweat-beaded face and they knew I was telling the truth.

There were limited options, when I was growing up, if you were hot. You could do as my mother advised, which was to take a cool shower, roll yourself in talcum powder and then lay on your crisp, line-dried sheets with a fan on, thus creating a cool and dry environment for yourself.

Or, you could do as my father did, which would be to take as hot a shower as you could stand, thus making whatever temperature it was outside cool by comparison.

Air conditioning was like a dream to us, part of the exciting “Let’s go to the movies!” package on those really hot days. One of my aunts – the same woman who taught me that if you whistled in the dark the ghosts couldn’t get you – used to drive us around town with the windows up so that “the rich folks” would think we had air conditioning in our car, something that was, in our eyes, the epitome of wealth.

But that’s what happens when you come from no-air-conditioning people – first you glamorize those who do; and then you find ways around it. And honestly, whether your way of dealing with it is running through the sprinkler, sitting in front of a fan with your swimsuit on, or running naked down the alley from Brent's house to Sybil's, you won’t remember being this hot when winter rolls around (or until the photos start showing up on Facebook).

It’s 92F out there right now. That’s 33.3C. It’s to hit 97/36 by Friday, which is much easier to take when described, at least for this gal, in Celsius. Ninety-seven degrees Fahrenheit sounds like the temperature you pre-set the oven to. Thirty-six degrees Celsius sounds friendly, like there might be a decorative scarf or some brand-new socks involved.

Hmmm. Somebody remind me of how nice I think “36 degrees” sounds, come November or so.

23 comments:

powdergirl said...

36 c. 4 more degree's and you may as well be in a Bikram studio...all day. Ugh.

I hate air-conditioning, it always makes me snuffly.

ellen abbott said...

I didn't think you people in the far north even had air conditioning.

Pearl said...

powdergirl, I agree with the snuffly bit. I don't like it either, but a gal's gotta sleep! (The second floor can be a killer.)

ellen, our temperature swing is ridiculous...

Jon in France said...

We have air conditioning here too. We call it "windows."

Grief, if France got proper air conditioning the power grids would probably collapse.

Ruthibelle said...

Ah boy. Imagine in Jamaica 33 is the norm everyday ... all day everyday. And nope, no air at home. Too expensive. We live under the fans. Or, if you go by what you see in the movies, by the beaches under coconut trees ...

Have a good one.

Draea Lael (Rose) said...

I used to live in Duluth, many years ago. We did the same thing. No a/c, just windows...except for that one summer, I think it was '87 and we had a 20 day heat wave, with health adviseries and everything. I think mom cranked it up first thing in the morning, just to get it to a breatheable temp and then cut it off. We just moved to Mississippi from Colorado where 90% of the houses don't even have an a/c installed. It got hot, but most people open windows, turn off the lights, on the fans, refuse to cook in the kitchen and hide out in the basement levels of the houses for a few weeks.
Here, forgettaboutit! No a/c makes mama a nasty beotch! Its been over 100 degrees with humidity at 99% for over 2 weeks...I don't go outside after 10 am.
36 celcius sounds dreamy!
<3

Pearl said...

Jon, we are lucky in that Mpls rarely sees a power outage.

Ruthibelle, :-) Somehow, 33 in Jamaica seems reasonable where 33 in Mpls seems punitive...

Draea, ewwww! I was in Houston during their 20-some day run of temperatures over 100 degrees (even at night!) and it was ridiculously hot. The world certainly moves at a different pace when the tar gets sticky!

Miss Yvonne said...

96 degrees and you haven't turned on your air conditioner?? You either have a super high heat tolerance or a mental illness. I'm sweating just thinking about it.

Sweet Cheeks said...

In temperatures like that, Pearly Girly, I would advise people NOT to wear any deoderant/perfume scents that resemble foods...they could be attacked by a mob of hungry people for smelling like a hot apple pie!
;-)

a Broad said...

I grew up in the hot humid sweaty South and we didn't have A/C until I was about 13.
I swore then, standing in the field, holding that fist up high, As God is my witness, I will never Go Without A/C again !

And I haven't.
I am now living in a backwards kind of place, it is winter now. But when Summer comes... my a/c is going 24/7.

chau, C

IndigoWrath said...

Hey Pearl, I feel for you. It was 45 Celcius in Tunisia, but no humidity. Out of sun = cool as a cucumber. So, go find some cucumber. Indigo

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

I am just like you. I am a freakin' hot house orchid in the summer. As someone with the psysique of a polar bear I am okay with Winter - deathly cold winter days - because I can always get warm. But heat is another thing. When I cannot get cool I get very annoyed. But not this year. In January I antipated these days and got an air conditioner that has wheels on it and I can pull around the house like a slinky toy. I can redirect it's arctic flow upon me while I sleep. I mock all who sweat around me because I AM COOOOL.

Madame DeFarge said...

I'd die for air-con right now. All I'm doing is shifting the hot air round and feeling grumpy.

Sam Liu said...

Over here in England, we get a very irregular and sporadic amount of actual sunshine and warmth during the summer - and that's if we're lucky. So nobody has air conditioning, it simply isn't worth it. But when I travel to hotter countries, I truly cannot survive without a constant source of cold air, it just goes to show how terribly weak I am when confronted with extreme weather :D

P.S. I loved your dad's method of cooling down, or rather, withstanding the heat. That really made me laugh :)

Gigi said...

Oh Pearl - I couldn't live with you. No, I don't do sweat very well. Hubby and I are constantly going behind each other switching the temp on the a/c. So maybe he could live with you.

mapstew said...

Over here anything over 20C is a heatwave! We all take our clothes off and run around screaming and staring at the big orange ball in the sky! What fun! :¬)

xxx

Katherine Thomas said...

We had 90 degrees today, and the weatherman got all excited and kept preempting the TV programs to talk about our "Heat Emergency". I don't remember 90 degrees ever being an emergency when we were kids. We just lived with it. Not a big deal!
But nowadays we have to make everything more serious than it needs to be!
Loved your post. It brought back lots of memories.

injaynesworld said...

Wasn't it just snowing there? We're pretty mild right now here in central California. We'll be getting weeks of 105-plus later in the summer. That's when I want to sleep in my air-conditioned car with the motor running.

Cheeseboy said...

I am sitting here, trying to figure out which family member's oddity is nuttier - your dad with the shower thing or your whistling aunt.

poosemommy said...

I do have A/C in the house (every house built in Alabama after central air was invented does), but I do rock a 97 Buick with LEATHER seats and no A/c. Nice! So when it's 100 outside it's like, 120 inside the car. Love that. I start sweating at 6:30 am and stop about, well, 5 am when it is coolest (still the high 70's). My Yankee husband thinks that it's wrong for the Poose to ride without A/C, but I figure that it builds character - as long as he has cold sweet tea and we go with the 4/40 rule: 4 windows down and at least 40 MPH.
I turned out fine, right? ~twitches~

Tempo said...

LOL... 33 is a nice spring day here in OZ. 36 is still ok (just).. it's when it gets way over 42 that we start suffering.
When I was a kid there was no air conditioning, the first mall that opened had primitive air conditioning and it was packed with people every hot day. (was at least 5deg cooler in there...WOW!)
Ive got the heater on just now as its around 50 freezing degrees.

Kevin Musgrove said...

After a lousy Summer of '09, an Autumn of floods and for once a snow-packed winter we're now in our sixth day without rain and the water company has declared a drought order.

You wouldn't want to live with English air-conditioning. It's like sitting on the bus with the windows closed and heat full on in the company of a host of teenagers carrying dirty laundry in wet wicker baskets.

Wynn said...

I guess there's a reason for this country to NOT have air conditioners in private residences because we don't get those temps very often, but when we do (most often around 83 degrees for a few weeks a year), it's utter and pure suffering.

Nowhere to escape and no sleep. Ah, summer.