Once upon a time in Texas, men and women did things. Blood feuds were enacted, brooding Gothic novels were written, railroads were built, ranches were fenced off. The men fought, drank, swung hammers, sang. The women bore children, sewed quilts, slaved over hot stoves, and glowed (not sweated). And they did it all without air conditioning.
Man, those guys were tough.
Now it's 2010, and we, hot house flowers all, huddle in our cooled enclaves and wilt when we step out into the blistering heat of a Texas summer. I don't know how the pioneers and ranchers and authors did it. We've been without air conditioning for a week now, and the heat has sapped all creativity or energy here. I can't understand how anyone got anything done. I can't fathom why any children were ever born in May.
The typical image of a Tex-Mex hacienda is a cool low-roofed adobe structure with tile roof and floors and sparse furnishings. Know why? It's because when it's hot, you just can't stand clutter. Those overstuffed Victorian living rooms are a product of the great white north -- you would go insane if you had to look at all that junk in this heat. The very idea of an antimacassar is disgusting.
Some crank has recently written a book called Losing Our Cool, about the evils of air conditioning and how it's ruining the planet. Whatever, buster. If Al Gore can maintain his green cred and still have four HVAC units cooling his supermansion, I think I'm entitled to my one puny unit.
I will lavish plenty of invective on the damn fool architect who designed the cheap, mass-produced house which I call home. Even when the thermostat upstairs is hovering cheerfully at 92 degrees, there's air moving by the windows. I can feel the breeze, taunting me. If only it would waft its way into the house, it would be bearable, if not comfortable. And yet it does not come into the house, because the house is designed to be shut up when it's hot. Even box fans in all the windows can only compensate so much for poor architectural conception. Maybe if architects and developers and builders had to work in offices with no air-conditioning, we might start to see some real advances in green building.
In the meantime, it's too darn hot.
Fortnightly Book, April 26
10 hours ago