Feeling hot, hot, hot: Our days without air conditioning

Feeling hot, hot, hot: Our days without air conditioning

Do you hear that sound? If you listen closely, you may be able to hear the choirs of angels singing like I do. It's possible, though, that it's just the sound of our brand new air conditioner humming along in its first few minutes of operation.

We've lived just over a week without air conditioning. I would say that it was a first world problem, but it's not. Lots of people in the first world don't have such a luxury. I lived without air conditioning throughout four years of college and survived quite nicely, and even lived thought a hot summer in the city while pregnant with just a window unit.

Friends gasped in horror when they heard of our very toasty plight. Some even generously offer lodging, or a place to work. (Working from home did not make our circumstances easier, that's for sure.)

"I'm so sorry this happened," said a friend today as the new unit was being installed.

"I'm not," I told her. "In fact, I'm pretty glad it happened. I think it was a good thing."

Now, the me that endured 93 degree heat and high humidity on Sunday may definitely would not have echoed that sentiment.

Through a bit of discomfort, my family discovered a new-found appreciation not just for air conditioning, both in our own home and in public places, like libraries, but for many other amenities we are lucky to have.

We rediscovered our basement, and hung out there more in the past week than we have in the past several years combined.

We appreciated the ability to shower when we wanted (actually, "needed" is probably the more accurate term), and welcomed cold showers in a way that we haven't before.

My husband found new gratitude for his office outside our home.

My childhood love of popsicles quickly returned in full force. (I still think grape is underrated.)

And a cool breeze in the evening was more lovely than it had been in recent memory. I was reminded that simple pleasures can go a long way toward offering sweet relief.

I'd forgotten how quickly you can adapt.

That doesn't mean that we traipsed happily through the home as if nothing was different. As temperature got higher, our fuses got shorter. When I snapped over something small, I thought about how violent incidents increase pretty significantly in the summer in large cities, and how others don't have nearly the options for relief that were available to use.

As we stood over the register shooting cool air up at us, I asked my daughter if she learned anything from our brief stint of life without air conditioning.

"When you lose anything in life, you appreciate it more when you get it back," my teen said. "I guess that should be if you get it back."

It was a lesson in gratitude, for air conditioning and the many other aspects of life that we had taken for granted.

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