Monday, June 21, 2021

Birmingham, AL: No AC


Fans in Rustavi, Caucasus Georgia. June 2012.
Fans in Rustavi, Caucasus Georgia. June 2012.

June 2021


I don't have AC in my Birmingham apartment, which is an interesting state of affairs when one lives in the South, and it is nigh on summer. 

The mental game

I am playing a mental game between now and when I leave Birmingham at the end of the month.

Every day that passes in which it is tolerable enough to sleep and during which I don't sweat in place - that is a day that has been stolen from Birmingham's God of the Furnace, Vulcan. 

The daily theft deeply satisfies my humid resentment toward a landlord who treats their tenants - the very same people who butter the landlords' bread with their rent payments - with contempt via malfunctioning, geriatric heating and cooling systems and shoddy installation and insulation, so that the tenants live with inadequate climate control AND pay extra because the machinery is energy-inefficient and the insulation is so poor that the tenant must also offset the influx of cold air in the winter and the egress of expensively-cooled air in the summer. 

Not that I hold a grudge. 



Other sweaty times and sweaty places

Not having AC in Birmingham takes me back to July in Rustavi, in Caucasus Georgia. Where it was so miserably hot and sweaty in the concrete vertical village, with screenless windows, and the sticky dilemma of what to do at night to sleep: 

  1. Open the bedroom window to catch a breeze and invite the apocalyptic-sized grasshoppers inside; or
  2. Keep the window closed, shutting the Satanic grasshoppers out, but sweating on the sheets?

A summer weekend in the country - in Gurjaani - the heat squatted among us, an uninvited guest: 

Even in the country, the heat was oppressive. It drained the energy from everyone. Many of us took frequent, short naps like dogs and cats. The heat pushed the odor of the outhouse into full bloom, and it wafted throughout the courtyard.

When one looks at photos of Tuscany -- the pretty scenery, the tables groaning with fruits, cheese, baguettes, and wines, the convivial gathering of smiling people, the grape arbors sheltering all beneath ... you don't think of the prosaic realities that accompany such beauty - flies that crash the party, fruit that over-ripens before your eyes, the aroma of super-heated humanity, the rationed water that means bathing is not a daily or every-other-day event.


In Nazret, Ethiopia, with its screenless windows, one can open the windows for breeze-catching until 6:00 p.m., and then you've got to close them firmly to keep out the bimbies - the mosquitoes. 

In Alamogordo, New Mexico, it was hot hot in June, until the rain came. The onset of the monsoon season, smack on time, July 1. 'Course, in Alamogordo, I had functioning air conditioning. Not like here in Birmingham. 


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