Surrender to the Air Conditioner

Hot doesn’t even begin to describe the temperature outside. It’s oppressive, sweltering, and heavy. It’s the kind of heat that refuses to dissipate but simply gets spread around by the ceiling fans, smeared like sticky icing over every surface in our home. The bedsheets turn damp from our sweat. A pair of wet shorts dries instantly on the front step. The front porch, with its south-facing single-pane windows, is uninhabitable despite a cross-breeze and fan. We retreat to the cooler darkness of our living room, whose only window faces onto the porch. Jason and I can’t sleep upstairs, where the air has stagnated and sits like an elephant on our chests. Instead, we’ve pulled out a futon downstairs for the past three nights and pretended to sleep.

Until this morning, when I caved and chose (of my own volition, I’ll have you know) to turn on the air conditioning. Usually Jason suggests it and I freak out, shouting that I’m claustrophobic and can’t stand it and will go crazy if he makes me live in an ice box. But today the outside temperature reached 32 degrees Celsius by 9:30 a.m. and, according to the Weather Network, felt like 38 C with humidity. The boys were pink and wilted, so I decided the time had come. Off came the bulky cover, on went the circuit breaker, and the guts of our old house rumbled and gurgled to life. Cool, refreshing air started to pour out of the vents.


Today officially marks the first day I’ve ever had air conditioning on in my home. Yes, I feel pleasantly cool, and yes, I’m glad I turned it on. But I’m also acutely aware of living in a bubble. I have felt disconnected from the world all day long. With all windows sealed shut, I haven’t heard the familiar sounds of the neighbourhood, snatches of conversation from passersby, or birdsong from the treetops. That being said, I’ve also avoided the obnoxious Harleys that go tearing past the house just as we settle into naptime and the loud grinding construction at the school across the street.

I have missed out, though, on the long-awaited heat. It may be oppressive, but heck, it’s summer! Isn’t the point to get sweaty and sticky and then head to the beach for a lovely cool-off? Air conditioning defeats that purpose and makes a trip to the beach seem unnecessary, since my skin is dry and comfortable as I sit here writing. Oh well, we’re going to make the trek anyways. God knows we’ll be sweaty enough by the time we get there to warrant a mad dash into the water. And then the house will feel lovely when we get back in time for supper.

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3 thoughts on “Surrender to the Air Conditioner

  1. I completely agree with you, however… I am actually in the city on the hottest day of the year instead of tossing myself in Shoe Lake. I caved and bought a table fan so I could sleep at night and right now it’s the only thing that is keeping me from being a puddle of goo. In this terrible heat, especially with little ones, it’s totally permissible to turn on the a/c
    . It was too hot, even at the cottage.

  2. My concept is, I need to sleep peacefully. if it takes an air conditioner, I will turn it on. My son William has several ceiling fans and doesn’t need to turn on the a/c as much as I do. But he also works for the Hydro company and watches his hydro rates. But there is a time where comfort takes over reason of cost.

    1. Yes, it certainly can get expensive! Living in an old house does help. The double-brick goes a long way to keep the house cool so we’re lucky in that regard. I agree that sleeping is key. That’s why Jason and I often move downstairs where it’s not quite so stuffy.

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