September 2nd, 2011

planet

my electric bill...

...was $320 this month.

I've held of from writing about the weather because can you get a more boring topic? But we had a hot summer! We set a new record here... 50 days over 100 degrees. Seriously I think the whole month of August and most of July was over 100. And not just barely; it seemed to be constantly closer to 110 than 100.

That said, I still feel bad about how much my air conditioning was on, but it's tough because Marc's home during the day so there's not a time when we can just set the timed thermostat to relax a bit. If it was up to me, the house would be hot, like 80, all the time. In fact I think my apartment was always 80. Air conditioning in general tends to be the bane of my existance. I'm always freezing in offices, grocery stores, and restaurants. I'm frequently cold in my own home, which is set at 76... a compromise between Marc and I, but a tricky number because our old house wasn't designed for central air so no matter what it's set at, there's a lot of variation between rooms. When I'm really cold I can go outside, or go upstairs to the yellow guestroom to read, or go in my sewing room and iron something. But it feels silly to be vacationing to warmer climates inside my own house just to survive, especially with the electric bill... I'm paying to freeze myself! Such is life with a family.

My booklist has this on it: Losing Our Cool: Uncomfortable Truths About Our Air Conditioned World by Kansas author Stan Cox. I haven't read the book, because I'm afraid it'll make me feel guilty. But I heard him interviewed. He's like an anti-AC activist. He argues that by running AC all the time, we're increasing our greenhouse emissions and making our climate hotter, shooting ourselves in the foot. We're giving ourselves allergies and decreasing our normal tolerance to heat by staying inside. We're changing the way we interact with each other, never going outside or interacting. There are bad things about AC.

And some of my sister's friends who'd spent time abroad pointed out another fact: we're so stuck in this mindset that we need AC, we've made it socially critical. We judge people for being sweaty or wearing revealing clothing... things that we could just roll with. But as a group, we've opted to not. How would you feel if a neighbor invited you for dinner and you felt uncomfortably hot?

So that's my complex. I hate air conditioning and hate that my electric bill was so much, I feel guilty. But I'm not the one who spends the most time in my house. I spend time in an even colder office... an office so cold that people run space heaters and bundle up in coats and sweaters at the peak of summer. It drives me crazy. I know there's a time and place for AC.

In the Stan Cox interview, he mentioned that when the internet grew popular we all starting asking ourselves how much technology was too much. Could you be too absorbed online, and ignore real life? Could you get addicted? Was it bad for kids? Dangerous? We've never asked ourselves that question about air conditioners... they just crank. I think that's the problem.