PATRICK MCVAY

WRITER

My Musings

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Wake Up Call

 

15.00

 

I have 3 of life’s necessities – food, clothing, and shelter – but not the 4th (air conditioning) except via a couple of ancient window models that haven’t yet been dusted off and installed this year (and it’s July already, folks!). You assume this means my abode must be unlivably hot, but that’s mostly not the case. The average summer here in coastal New England, at least to this point in human history, requires about 10 days of a/c a year, max. (I know: "It’s bound to get worse." Tell me about it.)

If you’re one of those people with central air, you might cool your place 24/7 from early June to late September, but generally speaking that’s overkill. Nighttime temperatures are usually in the 60s and 70s in Boston, so a few well-placed fans release the hot air back to into the external atmosphere, where it belongs.

The downside of my scheme to live largely sans a/c is that it has left me and my family vulnerable to The Thoughtless. Certain people around these parts arrive home at 3:21 a.m. (according to my clock on a recent “school night”) with radio blaring, emerge from their cars with a belch and snort; make loud calls to friends on the other side of the world (spoken at high volume); slam their car doors; tell an off-color joke; and engage the car alarm with an affirmative honk of the horn. Now ready for bed themselves, they hush up and amble to their own homes, where they tiptoe around so as not to awaken their own households.

The above sketch is a composite of things heard in the middle of the night over the years, always in the summer when our windows are open. A couple of years back I found myself regularly shutting down friendly games of football and soccer that my next-door-neighbor's teenage son and his buddies were playing just below my bedroom window (past midnight).

So my eschewing the use of fossil fuels to cool my house comes at a stiff price. Next time I’m awakened in the middle of the night (tonight, perhaps?), I may just use my sleepless hours to investigate central air, if for nothing else to enable me to keep my windows shut.

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Monday, 18 December 2017

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