Weekly enthusiasms

A weekly review of something I love.

Open windows!

  Image: Phil Roeder  via Flickr

Image: Phil Roeder via Flickr

I grew up in a house that did not have air conditioning, a fact that was both physically uncomfortable and emotionally scarring. In the summer, friends did not want to come over because my house was too hot. I would protest—is not!!!!— even though I knew it was true, sitting on our sofa sticky with sweat and trying not to move too much because moving made it worse. When my sister and I pleaded for us to please, please get air conditioning, my dad had a straightforward reason for denying our request: "It builds character." (My dad eventually bought himself a window air conditioning unit, reasoning that he had enough character.) 

This low-level neglect did, in fact, make me hardier. At summer camp, in classrooms, crammed into college dorms—wherever the universe found me without the comforts of climate control, my peers mourned the loss, while I, undaunted would say, "You could open a window." 

OPEN WINDOWS! Nature's original A/C, a mostly ineffective (especially if the outside is also hot) but hopeful act. "Let's let a little breeze in," my mom would say, as if the air were a sentient thing just waiting to be invited to our space. Summer is at some of its most summery for me when I'm at home, windows open, listening to sounds of things outside enjoying their day. 

If you needed further proof that windows are a delight, ask a cat. Mine is especially fond of open windows and will rush (as much as he rushes anywhere) to investigate at the sound of anyone, anywhere, opening a window. He very much desires to be in the window, and his total bafflement and helplessness over the situation amount to what I imagine having an actual child might be like. Just jump! You can do it! You got this! we'll say to him as he dances around, trying and yet really not trying, until I pick him up and put him in the sill, where he can watch birds and squirrels and feel the breeze coming in. 

But for the record, I do also have a window A/C and plenty of character.