I read a news story last week in the New York Times about people who are living without air conditioning by choice in the U.S. , mostly for financial reasons. A couple of the people were in Florida. They talked about how they have adapted over time (one woman in Tallahassee has been doing this for two years now), and the other changes they’ve made to stay as cool as possible, or at least a little less hot.
I was thinking about that this morning as I was mowing the lawn and sweating. Could I adapt to that? I think I could, but I’m not sure. If I didn’t work in a building that is kept at meat-hanging temperature, it would be easier. If I could work at home and keep the windows open all the time, that would help. It would also be impossible to have an indoor pet. I know Ralph can’t take the heat for any length of time.
(As an aside, I love reading blog posts from people who are giving advice on staying cool in the summer, who invariably live in the Midwest or North. “Open your windows at night to let the cool air in,” they say. Ha. There is no cool air here at night. What do they suggest for that??)
If I was going to have to live without a/c, I think part of my ability to do that would come down to physical adaptation, and part would come down to toughing it out. I could do the physical adaptation if I had enough time (i.e., started in the spring and never turned on the a/c in the first place. Would I be tough enough, though? Especially if I was still working in a cold building? I’d like to think so, but I don’t know. I guess we never really know what we are capable of until we have to do it.
My ancestors all came to the “colonies” from 1630-1730, before there was a U.S.A. The boats they came on look like Matchbox cars next to today’s transatlantic ships. Once they got here, they headed west into the wild and commenced farming and hunting and such. My ancestors were a pretty hardy group. Definitely tough enough to settle a New World.
I’d hate to think I’d disappoint them by not being able to do without something as exotic as air conditioning.