Air Conditioning

I don’t use air conditioning in my house. The only time in my life I air conditioned my home was while I was married. It wasn’t really my choice. I didn’t have air conditioning as a kid, in college, or when I moved out on my own. And since my divorce, I have not used air conditioning.

I wish I could say that it was just because I like the heat, but I cannot. I hate the heat. Summer is the worst. But, as much as I hate it, and I really, really hate it, it doesn’t get me to use air conditioning.

When people ask why, I kind of reflexively say that it’s too expensive. That was probably true when I was a kid. It was certainly true during college and for the decade after college. But I can afford it now. It’s not because I’m cheap that I don’t have air conditioning.

It is true that I’m not a fan of air conditioning, at least the window units that I would have to use. They’re loud. I prefer fresh air. And did I mention that they’re loud? But my dislike of the air conditioners isn’t nearly as strong as my hatred for the heat. So, that’s not the real reason.

I could say that I don’t use it because of environmental concerns, but that would only be partly true. I am environmentally conscious. I’m a stickler for turning off lights; maximizing mileage; and reducing, reusing, and recycling. I walk when I can. According to the power company, I consume significantly less energy than my efficient neighbors. But I’m not a fanatic. I live a normal life. If my lack of air conditioning were simply due to environmental concerns, I’d have to give up TV, my car, and a bunch of other things I’m not willing to give up.

I think the real reason I don’t have air conditioning is the knowledge that air conditioning contributes a great deal to making the world warmer. I know that sounds like environmentalism, but it isn’t. Something that is designed to make my house cooler and more comfortable makes the world warmer and more uncomfortable. That’s too much irony for me. I can’t live that way. I’m not an ironic person. It makes me uncomfortable.

I can drive my car even though I know it contributes to the warming of the planet. There’s no irony there. The point of a car is to get me from place to place, not to cool me off. It’s not that I don’t worry or feel guilty about driving. I sometimes do. But when it’s a choice between keeping my job or quitting driving, I can get myself to drive. I can’t do the same with air conditioning. As long as I know that the thing whose purpose is to cool me is making me hotter, I can’t do it. Looks like I’ll have to live without it until I can afford a geothermal system or my electricity is 100% renewable. For now, I’ll just keep being hot and hating it.

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