|Sales of air conditioning units in the UK remained flat for 2011|
England, oh England.
England is a place so damp and wet I once found mushrooms growing in the corners of our carpet in a particularly grim student residence. It is a place where sodden holidays by the sea are either accompanied by pacamacs, windbreakers or large flasks of whisky. So, I never as a whippersnapper, thought I would ever live in a place where I would crave the cool sweet synthetic air of an air conditioning system like a junkie craving his fix.
Indeed, I wonder now, looking back, had I ever seen an air conditioning unit in the UK? Do they exist? Or are they like the Loch Ness monster, simply something that is part of urban myth? Something no one has ever actually seen, although they think, you know, a friend of theirs might have one, although they've only seen a grainy photo of it.
No, the idea of anyone in the UK paying to be blasted with cold air is frankly, ludicrous.
But life is governed by Fate and not reason. Fate is a wily, duplicitous woman. And so, twelve years ago, I found myself moving to Baltimore, where the summers are so hot the only place you can possibly find respite is in a pool. And in the interim I have become a slave to air conditioning. In fact, none of us here knew how much of a slave we had become, until we had a massive storm recently and large areas of Baltimore lost power.
A tree also got struck by lighting in front of my house and crashed across the road during that storm, but I digress. My husband had to go out in the storm, get the generator out of the garage and attach it to the sub pump in the lighting and thunder, otherwise our basement would have flooded, (as it did last September) but I digress.
The day after this massive storm no one had any power because trees had pulled many electric wires to the ground. It was also 100 degrees F so people were in very bad moods.
If you know any people who are obsessed with drugs, you know how they are all friends with each other only so they can supply each other with drugs.
Well that's how it went after the storm. Cell phones were crashing all over the shop as overheated people called anyone they'd ever met to see if they had power and an air conditioning unit they could gain access to.
Everywhere air con addicts were phoning each other:
"Do you, you know have any...?"
"Yeah I might have."
"You mean you have AIR CONDITIONING ....hang on I'm coming over!!!!"
In fact, that first day after we lost power, I felt like someone in a Hieronymus Bosch painting, roasting in hell. As luck would have it, I happened upon some chums of mine who were lying under some trees in a park panting like dogs, croaking about the heat.
Hurrah! Thank God one of them HAD AIR CONDITIONING in their office. So we all went there and hung out there all day, including the kids. It was absolute heaven on earth!! The office also had a large supply of wine. But I digress.
Those friends of mine saved my life.
We got power back a few days later, but many people went without power for a whole week in brutally hot temperatures. It was mostly fun though, because all the neighbours chatted together and shared their generators for those without power.
But one thing I realised was that I am a slave to air conditioning. Sometimes a move back to Blighty seems like a good idea. If there's a power cut there...the one thing you would be able to live without would be air conditioning.
What do you think you couldn't live without if there was a power cut?
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