Sunday, July 11, 2010
Living La Vida Localiente
If you’re not on the East Coast, you may not know that we have had a heat wave for the first ten days of July. Do I have to tell you that a hundred degrees in New York City is not pretty? I didn’t think so.
What’s even more worrisome to me than the heat itself, is the fear of a power blackout. Peter and I got off easy in the last one (the Northeast power outage of 2003), but the image of those people who were on the subway when the power went out has never stopped haunting me. (To this day, I travel on the subway – always – with a water bottle and a Maglite.) I just don’t want to contribute to the possibility of that happening again, even in my own small way.
So, in a fit of social responsibility, Peter and I have been trying to live without air conditioning. Because the first floor of our house is slightly below grade, the living room is actually not unpleasant. And as long as I don’t use the oven or stove, the kitchen is fine too. The second floor, with three really powerful ceiling fans and the judicious lowering and raising of blinds, is manageable enough.
When we get to my office, however, which is an extension on the back of the house, that’s a different story. By 1 pm, when the sun has made its arc over to our backyard and is beating down on the tar roof above my head, my fingers start to stick to the keyboard and my entire body is coated in a body paint of itchy sweat.
My way of coping has been to take off the afternoons and go to the movies! I figure that the air conditioning is already on in these places and the more people who partake of it, the more efficiently it runs. (I think that’s called rationalization, but it may be true too.) I saw four matinees last week: I Am Love and Winter’ Bone, both of which I highly recommend; Please Give, which I think is fine and definitely better than sitting in an unairconditioned* office; and Great Directors, a pathetic movie that I can’t believe actually got funded and distributed (the director/producer must have her own trust fund).
Peter has been a relentless urban farmer throughout this humid hideousness, waking every morning at six to hand water (see above; did I mention that we’ve also been in a mini drought?), the result of which has been that we have been eating salads from our garden every day, not to mention peaches and raspberries, and basil by the truckloads. Breakfasts have been peach-blueberry-raspberry yogurt smoothies (made with cantaloupe ice balls that we froze at the end of last summer).
Not so loco after all, I guess.
*The spell check function in Word does not recognize the word unairconditioned. Is that a cultural statement or what?