Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Too Darn Hot

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.

Not cool.


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.

Note the four HVAC units on the left of the house.

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.


Kate said...

We live in a new orleans shotgun, and only put in a window ac unit last week. strangely enough, now that we have that one oasis of cool - one room that is a few degrees closer to tolerable - i have even less energy than i had before. the change from cool to hot is just will-sapping.

anyway, what i was going to say is that i really appreciate the design of these old homes. before bringing in the ac unit, we opened the front and back doors in the evening and early morning to let the cooler air move through the house. it created a lovely breeze. when things started heating up we closed the doors and hunkered down. totally feeling the siesta thing, we should all work from dawn until noon then sleep through the hot part of the day. but i love the feeling of the breeze moving through the house and the hot air rising to the high ceiling and being pushed down through the dropped ceiling fans.

Charlotte (Waltzing Matilda) said...

Sing it, sister! And tell me that's NOT a heated pool in Uncle Al's backyard! How green is that?

I know that my farming ancestors used to brave the Texas heat without AC but I also know that they were generally very grumpy people who drank a whole lot of beer. And notice how nobody is smiling in those sepia toned pics from the past?

Melanie B said...

I hear you! Even up here in Massachusetts, I find myself cursing the builders of our home. I know they built it to be energy efficient in the winter. Small windows, the size of postage stamps. It's dark and gloomy everywhere except the living room. And we run the AC even when it's 75 outside because inside it will be ten degrees warmer. We can't get a cross breeze anywhere.

Jim Janknegt said...

I grew up in Austin without air conditioning. We had an attic fan, the giant fan installed in the central hallway ceiling that would suck in air from the outside and into the attic. I remember waking up on humid summer mornings drenched from all the moisture drawn into the house. But not knowing any difference we soldiered on. We did go swimming every day at the neighborhood pool.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that this post should immediately follow the one about you possibly moving to SV. Much cooler there this time of year . . . .


Kiwi Nomad 2008 said...

In my hemisphere it is winter, with just the merest hints of spring arriving.... As I have a broken arm in a cast at present.... I am really pleased it is cooler here!

mrsdarwin said...

Kiwi, sorry to hear about your arm. Hope you recover quickly and easily, and enjoy the winter for us!

TS said...

I can't fathom why any children were ever born in May.

Hilarious - I was thinking the same thing when down in SC. Great minds and all that...