I know people lived in multi-story dwellings prior to the invention of air conditioning. I've seen pictures and heard tales from people my mother's age about the sweltering summers before Willis H. Carrier developed modern air conditioning units.
I remember seeing movie theaters with the words AIR CONDITIONING spelled out in little blue icicles, enticing the uncomfortable masses to wander in for a mediocre movie in return for 2 hours of cool, dry air.
I didn't live in an air conditioned home until I moved here in 1991. For 34 years, I toiled away in warm ignorance. We had this intricate system of fans located strategically around the house. Some drew air from one room while others blew air into another. NASA scientists couldn't have devised a more perfect system. Maybe it worked or maybe we were happy because it was the best we could do.
Now, I'm in this second floor hot box with windows in odd locations that couldn't accept a window air conditioner even if the condo board would allow it. The A/C has gone out before, and always when the temperatures are at record levels. On tonight's news, the weather guessers are telling us that Tuesday's temperature and humidity will be at "dangerous" levels.
It's lucky for me (I guess) that my new compressor unit is being installed at 9am. Maybe it will be done before the air gets to deadly levels. At 10:25, It's 82 degrees outside and 90 degrees in here. The only fans I have are on the ceiling. I can't imagine what it will be like with tomorrow's 97 degree air moving in. I hope they work fast. Even the cat is moping around. He lays on the cool slate near the fireplace and near the opened deck door. He's no fool.
The good news is that the new compressor will run more efficiently than the 25-year old model it is replacing, so my electric bill should be smaller. The bad news is that the job is costing me $3,200, so that's a lot of electric bills. A small price to pay for a summer of relative comfort.
Ironically, I won't be able to enjoy much of the work being done on Tuesday, since I will be at the Dave Matthews Show at the outdoor Tweeter Center in Camden (also outdoors). That place is a roof-covered hot box on the best days, so I can only imagine what it will be like on Tuesday. Out of the frying pan and into the fire, as it were.
With any amount of skilled labor and a bit of perserverence, by this time tomorrow my Southern exposed corner of second story Hell should be cool and comfortable. At least the cat will be here to appreciate it.