Introduction: Party

[This is the first in what I expect to be a series of articles about the most important element of my being.]

Last night I had occasion to turn on the air conditioner. The nature of the occasion was more social than thermal: friends were gathering for a small party and I preferred to contain all of the airborne effects so as not to annoy the neighbors while maintaining a lively and comfortable atmosphere. A/C it would have to be.

I hardly mind a little bit of air conditioning now and then. The accompanying sneezes and runny nose matter less to me than my general unease in artificial atmosphere and the unnatural rumble of air handling equipment, and these things hardly have time to encroach upon my joie de vivre before such a gathering disperses into the night.

When I returned home from an hour of taxi driving, I opened the front door and collided with a wall of stale, cool air. It was my fault for not allowing the atmosphere to purge during my absence, I thought as I found something soft to sneeze into. It would continue to be my fault as I lazily fell into bed without opening a window or turning off the air conditioner.

Hours later, unable to sleep, I remembered what had made me so uncomfortable when I walked through the door. Flinging away bedclothes, I stormed to the thermostat and killed the rumbling monster in my ceiling, then opened every window in the apartment. When I felt the warm, fresh air tumble in, I knew it was time to sleep.

Slowly entering my consciousness over the course of the first half of this year, my distaste for air conditioning has taken firm root where I can see it. Years of evidence went by the boards as I ignored my own experience: endurance in nature had never attended the onset of illness in me but this was too deep a revelation. I would not see the truth without walking around it a few times, as a dog circles before settling on the ground.

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