Thursday, June 12, 2014
Rant #1,226: Air Conditioning
I hate to wear a tie, but I just love air conditioning.
Always have, always will.
I have become a devotee to air conditioning during my 57 years on this earth, and the recent attack on the Miami Heat's Lebron James for nearly passing out and cramping up when there wasn't any air conditioning during an NBA Finals game in San Antonio, Texas, really roiled me.
My family never had air conditioning in our apartments until I was seven years old, and we moved to Rochdale Village, Queens, New York.
So as a young child, it was very, very hot during the summer in our home.
The only relief we would get is when we went to the movies. Once inside, you could feel that cold air, and it made you feel so good.
When we moved to Rochdale, we had something that was new at the time called central air conditioning, meaning that your entire apartment was air conditioned--and the room that I shared with my sister was air conditioned, too.
What a pleasure to come in from a hot day and feel the cold air! I loved it.
Alas, it did not stop my allergies from emerging, but at least I suffered in relative comfort, in a way.
Then we moved to Long Island, and no, initially, we had no air conditioning.
I got sick a few weeks into living there--we moved in in July, at the height of the summer heat--and the doctor told my mother, "If you have just one air conditioner in the house, it has to be in Larry's room."
So after several weeks in our new home, I had an air conditioner in my room, which is still there, by the way.
My body became so used to the air conditioning that any time without it became excruciating, especially when I was doing something physical.
I remember in junior high school back in Rochdale, I passed out when, in gym, we were told to run around the track. I did not conserve my energy, dashed out quickly, and the heat eventually got to me.
A worse time was a few years later, on Long Island, when I was crossing Sunrise Highway--a major road, not a real highway, where I live--and I was riding my bicycle to a friend's house.
It was deathly hot that day, if not 100 then quite near it.
I got to the intersection at the light, and got off my bike to walk it across the street.
I remember nothing else about what happened. The next thing I knew, I was on the ground on the island in the middle of the street.
I think I passed out while crossing the street, and a guardian angel who was driving actually stopped his or her car and dragged me across to the island, and then drove off.
I came to, basically shrugged if off, and was on my way, but to this day, I have no idea what happened.
Some years later at Yankee Stadium, on a day when the temperature hit 97 degrees, I literally hyperventilated while in the bathroom. My son called for help, and Yankee Stadium security got me back to health pretty quickly.
But for a few minutes, I had no idea where I was.
My doctor once told my mother that I have something called heat prostration, which pretty much means that my body is reliant and used to the air conditioning so much that when it isn't on, I feel it more than others.
My wife will tell you that I always complain of being warm, even when she is comfortable or even chilled.
Last night, it wasn't overly warm in our bedroom, but after several minutes of tossing and turning, I had to have the air conditioning on, and so I turned it on.
I fell asleep immediately.
The people ranting against Lebron James--saying he should have "toughed it out" when the air conditioning system malfunctioned during a playoff game--don't understand what he went through.
James later said he has been battling this "malady" since he was a kid, and he probably has what I have, an over-reliance on air conditioning to cool down one's body.
He talked about leg cramps, but I saw his face, and yes, like what probably happened to me when I was crossing Sunrise Highway all those years ago, he was a step away from completely hyperventilating, which, I am sure those making fun of him don't realize, can be deadly.
This really is no laughing matter, and with the proper medical care, he got back to health pretty quickly.
So yes, I love the air conditioning, and yes, even right now, without it on in the room where my computer is, I feel a bit warm, but nothing that bad.
But during the day, in an office where air conditioning is used sparingly, I will feel the heat, I can promise you that.
Posted by Larry at 2:08 AM