Life with­out AC feels like life circa B.C.

The Southern Berks News - - LOCAL NEWS - By Mike Zielin­ski Colum­nist

We all take air con­di­tion­ing for granted. Un­til the first heat wave of the year hits Berks County like a jack­ham­mer and your cen­tral AC tanks more bla­tantly than a four-round club fighter get­ting his brains scram­bled.

Oh, well. No­body ever said that life was go­ing to be one long and cool ride down vel­vet al­ley. Still, who said that life has to be like stick­ing your head into a blast fur­nace?

Each year I pray that my cen­tral air won’t go belly up as the tem­per­a­ture gey­sers up. I’m not a big fan of scorched eye­brows.

I ad­mit I’m spoiled. I sur­vived grow­ing up with­out AC and I didn’t ex­actly melt into pud­dles of sweat. But that was then, and this is now.

Per­haps I’m now softer than but­ter left out of the fridge in a home with­out air con­di­tion­ing. But I find heat to be a gnaw­ing tor­ment. Maybe I’m just less tolerant of ir­ri­tants in the au­tumn of my life.

Heat can be a re­lent­less brute from which no one can hide for­ever. And there have been times when our cen­tral air conked out and our home was hot­ter than hell.

On those wicked nights more than once I thought I spot­ted Lu­cifer him­self sit­ting on a re­cliner in our family room, watch­ing tele­vi­sion. I guess high heat and suf­fo­cat­ing hu­mid­ity can make one hal­lu­ci­nate.

Again, not to dip into hy­per­bole, but there are ther­mal burn zones cooler than our house when the AC is on the fritz. The temps can be rag­ing hot enough to make an athe­ist look to the sky and start pray­ing for a light breeze to run its gen­tle fin­gers through the screens.

I find there’s no serenity when you’re sweat­ing more pro­fusely AF­TER you shower. Equally un­com­fort­able is try­ing to sleep while cov­ered in a sheet of sweat. Sheets of sweat don’t ride well in tan­dem with bed sheets.

At times when I’ve felt like I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name, you have no idea how much I longed for a glacial home at­mos­phere in which chat­ter­ing teeth shred and shed into snow cones of enamel.

We sim­ply were not born to live in a hot­house. My use of the word hot­house, by the way, was not just a cheap reach for a laugh. There have been times when our AC was out that tropical plants sprouted in our bed­room overnight. It looked the Ama­zon jun­gle when we awoke from our rest­less, drench­ing sleep.

Even though I get our cen­tral air ser­viced more fre­quently than I change un­der­wear, I live in mor­tal fear that it will snap, crackle and pop just to spite me.

So, I spend hours in the sum­mer squint­ing at our AC unit, do­ing my best im­pres­sion of Clint East­wood in the 1966 epic spaghetti Western “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.”

Of course, I would be much bet­ter off if I in­vested in a new, state-ofthe-art HVAC sys­tem. But I rou­tinely spend all my dis­pos­able in­come on por­ta­ble, os­cil­lat­ing fans on days when I’m suf­fer­ing from heat stroke. Alas, all that wind power is noth­ing but a hot-air blowhard when it comes to high hu­mid­ity

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