Editor’s Note: This post first appeared June 10, 2011.
I love this nationwide wailing and gnashing of teeth about the heat.
I grew up in the Deep South, so I earned my hot-weather badge at an early age. Now the rest of the country is in a sweaty panic because it’s hot in June.
In my Mississippi hometown, there was no such thing as a June heat wave. We had one heat wave every year, and it lasted from May to October.
As long as I wasn’t in school, I could have cared less. It never occurred to me and my friends there were places where melting asphalt was a novelty.
We were jacked up on the pure freedom only summer vacation could provide. There was no way something as inconsequential as the weather could spoil the fun.
Sure, we got hot. It was 92 in the shade. So we drank from the hose until our bellies sloshed, soaked our heads, picked up our bikes from where we’d dropped them in the grass, and resumed the day’s adventure.
We did not refer to this activity as “hydration.” It was known as “getting a drink from the hose.”
Yes, jeez, I’m a million years old. (“And we liked it!”) If I were you, I probably wouldn’t have even bothered to read this far. We can’t all be number-one draft picks.
Here’s a concept: Acclimation. It works.
I know, because the first time I tried to use my AC this year, the fan motor in the central unit refused to turn.
I sprayed Dibbidy-40 on the blade shaft and whacked it with a screwdriver. (This is the sum total of my mechanical knowledge.)
Even Dibbidy-40, that miracle in a can, failed to make the motor run. So I opened all the windows and rounded up some fans.
When confronted with a problem of this complexity, I usually do absolutely nothing. Some call this laziness, but I like to think of it as giving the problem careful consideration.
Fortunately, my place is shaded by two big trees, an oak and a sweetgum. I barely noticed the heat after the first day or so, even though the temperature averaged in the high 90s and the humidity had maxed out.
I complained about not having air conditioning to my friends, but I didn’t really care. I was outside most of the time during the day, or I was in The Metal Building, a sweltering repository for a century’s worth of family heirlooms and junk. Mostly junk.
Cleaning out The Metal Building is an annual exercise in futility, because we are a family of pack rats. Old junk is pushed to the side for new junk. Towers of junk go up, collapse.
You can find anything in The Metal Building. There’s a freaking piano in there, okay?
However, The Metal Building is a great place to commune with my dead ancestors. I found a homemade knife. The handle was made of bone. (Just consider, for a moment, a world where you have to make your own knife.)
My middle brother, Sky King, came up for a visit. He wasn’t in his airport car, so I knew he hadn’t flown in.
“Hey, Sky King,” I said. “Where’s your airplane?”
“Too hot to fly,” he said. “We need to get you some AC. What’s the matter with it?”
I gave him the facts as I understood them, which took about three seconds.
“It’s probably just the motor,” he said. “We’ll fix it tomorrow.”
Right, I thought. He might as well have said It’s probably just the reactor core.
The next morning I was roused by banging sounds. By the time I stumbled outside with my first cup of coffee, Sky King had pulled the motor from its housing.
“You need a new motor,” he said.
“Okey dokey,” I said.
A couple of hours later, the new motor was humming away. There was air and conditioning.
“You’re Batman,” I told Sky King.
He shrugged it off. “Electricity, that’s kind of my deal.”
What a guy!
It’s nice to have AC again, especially after a long day working in the yard or the garden, or communing with my dead ancestors in The Metal Building.
They would find me soft and useless, I’m sure. I stare at the crude shelves jammed with rusted farm tools, and I sigh.
Somehow I know they’ll still be there, untouched, long after I’m gone.
John Hicks advises you to spray it with Dibbidy-40.