The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Buddy, can you spare an ice cube?

"Hot enough for you?"
"You could fry an egg on the sidewalk."

When my family moved us to south Florida back in 1956, few houses had any air conditioning. It was a luxury, an expensive luxury. And my family had no money for luxuries. Neither did the families of most of my friends. Houses were built to accommodate the breezes as much as possible and building was done as close to the coast as possible. We settled into a home that was maybe 5-7 miles from the ocean... as the seagull flies. I live 70 miles from the Gulf coast now, there are no cool breezes.

We spent most of the time at home in our Florida Room. That would be a screened in, roofed porch with cool ceramic tile on the floors. It also had jalousie windows which allowed the breeze in but could be closed against the rain. We ate all our meals out there, had the TV set out there, pretty much lived out there. I even slept out there from time to time. The windows of the house proper had hurricane awnings (big, heavy, wood awnings) which shaded the windows and allowed them to remain open so that the breeze could move the air in the house. We had 20" box fans which we would mount on windowsills to move the air around when there wasn't much of a breeze.

When we slept in our beds, we were either uncovered or just used a sheet as a cover. We slept in our underwear, never pajamas (which I slept in much of the time in New York). Modesty was also a luxury.

I actually developed an aversion to AC. The stores and theaters and motels and hotels had AC, of course, but they kept it so cold (72 mostly) that I would bring a light jacket with me if I was going to spend any time in them. I would get headaches because the air would be too dry for me.

I remember one time when I was 18. I was at the beach, surfing, and was strapping my board on my car preparing to leave when a girl I knew pulled up. I spent about 5 minutes standing there talking to her while in my bare feet. Burned the soles of my feet that day. They hurt for several days.

But I don't recall being bothered all that much by the heat. I had grown used to it; the heat and humidity. I had adapted.

But the worst heat was in the Southwest. After I enlisted in the Navy and found myself in Long Beach, California, I learned about desert heat. They can say it isn't so bad because it is a "dry heat" but that's not true. It's a dry heat, alright, but 110 F is brutally hot. And anything above that is just pure agony. I have been in the desert when the temp was 120. You cannot breathe. You cannot drink enough cold liquids. You feel your skin transforming into leather. Your eyes dry out so much your eyelids scrape across your eyeballs. Your nose bleeds. Your lips chap in minutes.

I drove through Phoenix in July in 1977, headed for Albuquerque, in an un-air conditioned Honda Accord. It was 9 AM and the temp was reported to be 114 and rising. And "humid" at 15% humidity. I drank a 6 pack of 16 oz sodas and never stopped to pee. I don't believe the liquid ever got to my bladder. My shirt remained dry, the sweat never had a chance of soaking it but would evaporate.

Manassas, Virginia was the worst of all for me. The temps would be 105 or higher and the humidity would be 95% or more. Just breathing was exhausting. You'd step outside of your air conditioned home and feel the energy drain out of your body immediately.

I can deal with these 90 degree temps and 80% (or higher ) humidity. I can play golf in it, I can walk around in it. I don't like it but I can handle it.

"Deal with the Devil if the Devil has a constituency - and don't complain about the heat."
[C. J. Cherryh]

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