I live on the wrong continent.
I say this because I have been told that there are places in Europe that don’t automatically refrigerate every indoor space the moment the temperature outside goes above 70◦F.
When I was a kid, summers were hot and they were supposed to be hot. We liked it that way. At night, the windows were open and there would be a fan stuck in at least one of them, humming away with a comforting summer tune and circulating balmy air through our darkened bedrooms. During the day we wore shorts, drank water, went swimming, sat in the shade, and ran through sprinklers. I was never cold.
It was heaven.
It was only after I moved out on my own at the age of 24 that I first experienced life with an air conditioner, and even then it was only in my bedroom so that my poorly ventilated second story room got enough air in it on the hottest of summer nights.
It’s May now, so I have to carry a coat all the time. When I go indoors I put it on, when I come back out I take it off, wincing at the instant headaches that having to cycle repeatedly through warm, then frigid, then warm, then frigid environments cause.
I work in an office building, so I bundle up in layers of sweaters all summer long. I sit at my desk shivering, often working with gloves on, gritting my teeth over the money being flushed away in an endeavor to make me as uncomfortable as possible. When I leave work at the end of the day I breathe out a long sigh of relief upon walking into the parking lot and getting to feel the sun for the first time. I get into a car that’s been sitting enclosed in the sun all day and actually revel for a few seconds in the feeling of intense warmth before rolling the windows down.
I’m cold, to varying degrees, all winter long. Then I’m cold to varying degrees all summer too.
Look, I’m not advocating sweltering to death if someone is elderly or infirm. I know that people die every summer because of excess heat and poor ventilation and I don’t want that to get worse. But would it really kill corporations to cut the budget by building office windows that OPEN and allowing fresh air and fan ventilation on spring and fall days?
Do we really need to run air conditioners on full blast inside hermetically sealed buildings in April? In March?! It’s making us all soft; unable to use or even recognize the natural ways our bodies have of regulating fluctuations in temperature.
Human beings were not meant to live like this.