Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Physics Is Not the Answer

What is wrong with this state?

The weather here is insane. I know I should be used to it by now, and I also know that I shouldn't be blaming Indiana for having crazy weather when I don't really know about the weather in other states, but STILL. I don't see how the weather in New Jersey or Texas or Colorado could be as bizarre as the weather here.

Last week, I was wearing a winter coat everywhere. Sunday, it was over 80 degrees (we're talking Fahrenheit, if you were wondering) outside, and easily 90 in my bedroom. I thought I could combat the rising temperatures by taking a fan and putting it in my window, so the cooler air from the outside would come inside and make my life happier.

But it didn't work.

I spent Sunday night sweating in bed. On bed, really, because I threw off all the covers hoping that maybe, just maybe, I could lower my body temperature that way. Nope. When I get home and look at my sheets, they will look like the Shroud of Turin, only Laura-shaped. That is gross beyond belief. C.S.I. gross.

When I was a little girl, we didn't have air conditioning. Luckily, I didn't know the difference. Dad bought us fans. Three of them. Four, really. I got a small pink fan, Paul got a tan colored one. They didn't rotate. If there was any such thing as rotation back then, I didn't know about it. I used to sit with my face inches from the fan and wait to cool down. It never worked.

We had a large industrial-strength metal fan that sat in the living room. It didn't rotate either. This led to me convince my brother that sitting behind the fan meant he'd get the cooler air faster than me, because the air had to go past him to get through the fan to get to me. That was a lie, and this is another reason why I am on the Bad Sibling List.

On one very exciting day, Dad brought home another fan. This one was tall and it MOVED on its own. So Paul and I started sitting next to each other, and that was when he stopped believing my lies.

Well. He stopped believing the lie about the fan...he still believed other ones.

When we reached junior high, Dad decided that, while we were too immature to use a real paint brush, we were allowed to have box fans, which he shoved into windows. Wow. It was the best invention ever. Cool (humid) air came inside the house, and although I still felt like I was about to die, at least the situation had slightly improved.

We went on that way for several years. By then, my cousin was in college, and one of his roommates had a window air conditioner. Then the roommate replaced his window air conditioner and gave it to my cousin, who then passed it on to us.

It was huge. I think it was the first window air conditioner ever to be invented. It spat out dank air, but the air was cool, and it made the living room habitable--no more sticking to the couch! We peeled the sheets off of the furniture, we didn't need them anymore. Sure, the air conditioner sort of made the living room smell like a swamp, but a cool swamp was way better than basting in the rotisserie that was our home.

Paul and Mom looked at me. I looked at them.

Moments later, we'd disassembled our mattresses and pulled them into the living room. We carefully arranged them in a manner reminiscent of a malaria ward or one of those hospitals in Panama they built for all the workers keeling over with yellow fever, but what did we care? We were no longer sweating out half our body weight at night. That was enough. I nicknamed the air conditioner "Swamp Cooler" after the air conditioner in Laurie Notaro's books, and we were happy.

But all good things must end.

One summer, the Swamp Cooler spat out humid, legionnaire's disease-ridden air...and nothing else. There was no more cool air. The air conditioner had died.

Dad was happy to just sweat. He'd been sleeping in his bedroom without the air conditioner for years, he said. We could live without air conditioning.

He was wrong.

Before, the heat had been a fact of life. I would leap into the bathtub or go into the basement to cool off. But now I knew what life could be. It could be a happy place where driving to the mall meant shopping, not just sitting in the food court until it was time for the movie because it was too hot to stay home. Standing in the front yard waiting for a storm to come and rain so maybe, just maybe, the temperature would drop a few degrees had lost its appeal.

Mom, who had always been plagued with migraines, now had to lie in the path of several fans, her brain poaching like an egg inside her skull. I took to driving the lawn mower extra fast, so I could have a cool breeze while I mowed.

And then it happened.

I didn't believe it at first, but soon the house was in the midst of construction. First, there was new wiring. The Swamp Cooler, infamous for blowing fuses, had done so because the house had old wiring. New wiring would mean we could run the washer and dryer with the air conditioning and still open the garage door if we wanted to.

Then a man came with booklets, and Mom studied them carefully. Then he came back. With our new air conditioner. It was the best part of the summer, maybe even the best part of my life.

But I can't justify turning on the air conditioner when it's a nice, breezy 60 degrees outside. Or even if it's 70! Think of all the electricity it uses--we can still just open a window then.

So Sunday night I roasted, feeling that the hand of death was surely upon me. I hated my life, I hated my stupid fan and the pathetic way it was churning out room-temperature air all over the room. I decided that there must have been some kind of issue with air pressure. The wind, I thought, is hitting the garage door, after all. My room is on the other side of the house. In fact, my window is EXACTLY opposite. That means, I thought, that there is a vacuum or something that's making the hot, gross air in my room stay in my room and never move. Physics, I thought. That is why I am suffering.

Monday evening.

The air outside was lovely and cool. I was still in a roasting hot bedroom. What was I to do? I pried my window open again and waited for cold air. This time, I thought, air would come in. Air COULD come in, because the wind direction had changed!

But there was no cool air.

Why, I thought, does Paul's bedroom get cool air from outside while my bedroom got nothing? Clearly, something was wrong. I was being punished for lying about that stupid fan.

I grabbed my little fan and shoved it into the window again. But the air was still the same as it had been the night before. I was going to die. I would have to sleep in the basement. But there was a weird smell in the basement, and we hadn't figured out what was making it yet. I wasn't going to sleep next to a dead mouse or a spider colony. No way.

I sat up and yanked the fan back out of the window. And I saw myself. In the window. Except the window was open.

The window was open, but not the storm window. I had been lying in bed, miserable, wondering for DAYS why I was so overheated. And all because I opened every storm window in the house except mine.

This is why I need a special sticker for my car or something. Really.


  1. You should check your yahoo mail. There's a gift for you :)

  2. "The rotisserie that was our house" HAHAHAHAHAHA