I live on the top floor and what I remember most from science classes is that heat rises. I’m reminded of that every day that I wait for my landlord to replace the broken air conditioner.
I grew up without air conditioning. That was my normal. We did what we always did, just sweaty and, probably, a little stinky. If it became unbearable we took quick showers or ran through people’s lawn sprinklers. And yes, the year I lived in the Bronx I enjoyed the fire hydrants with all the other kids. Three life lessons in one: tough enough to handle the water pressure, grateful that someone (illegally?) opened the hydrants up for us, nimble enough to dodge the cars because we were, after all, in the street.
Children play regardless of weather. Summer never stopped us from jumping rope, riding bikes, climbing things or running around playing tag. For me, quiet play was reading or playing with Barbies. I don’t recall Barbie houses having air conditioners.
I do remember the time my father put all our bed sheets in the freezer. He mentioned his mother fanning her children to sleep, no small task with three sons. How hot she must have felt!
Back in the day there was “tar beach,” the euphemism for sunning on the roof. I understand why that’s no longer allowed, given the danger of falling off said roof. But there is some gritty romanticism about it. I’ve been tempted to stealthily carry my beach chair, a book and a glass of wine up to the roof but it would be pretty awkward if I got caught.
When the new AC is installed the first thing I’m going to do is cook. Not too much, though. It is, after all, summer! It’s time to enjoy these longer days when the nights are bearable and the days spent..oh no, wait, the days are at work. In the city. In too much air conditioning.