I moved to a new apartment two weeks ago and must have been delusional when I thought I could go the rest of the summer without an air conditioner. Boy, did I underestimate the power of a heat wave in New York City.
"It's only another month or so I'll have to get through," I said to my friends and family, hardly believing what I was saying, but pretending it was no big deal. Of course I could handle it!
Well, I handled it. Just barely. This past Sunday, I spent most of the day surrounded by fans (the loud, whirring, breeze-making kind, not the people-who-adore-me kind), trying to adjust to the intense heat and humidity. I learned a few things in the process. Here, how to get by when the temps are in the high ’90s, there's no A.C. in sight, and even an iced coffee won't suffice. (Madness!)
1. First, the denial: Insist that you'll be fine, that the heat is no problem for you. After all, you grew up without an air conditioner, you got this. #badass. Er, make that: #sweatybadass.
2. Decide to do laundry at the laundromat. Hang out a bit longer than necessary folding clothes to soak in that free A.C. (Cheating is allowed, obvi.)
3. Realize that the relatively simple task of making the bed with fresh sheets will result in you being bathed in sweat. Here commences the first midday shower (of many to come).
4. Resign to not lift a finger to turn on the stove. Do it anyway, and curse yourself when the kitchen becomes a true oven.
5. Use any excuse to stick your head in the freezer. Yes, I do need to refill all the ice trays three times. Maybe six? What if there's an ice shortage? I'd better stockpile.
6. Contemplate having ice cream for dinner. Then actually do it, meeting your friend at the local ice cream shop around the corner to slurp down four scoops in a HUGE cone. Come home covered in sticky ice cream like the true kid you are.
7. Shower again, of course. Have to wash off all that ice cream!
8. Put on your emergency, I'm-melting-in-this-heat outfit: the belly shirt you never feel comfortable wearing (outside of the beach) and the loosest shorts you own (i.e. the looser the clothing, the cooler you'll feel).
9. Put wet hair in a topknot and decide it's the only way you can wear your hair ever again.
10. Daydream of what air conditioning feels like. If only there was some cool air blasting on me right now!
11. Think about going to a coffee shop, but that means having to move, and changing out of the belly top... too much work.
12. When it randomly starts to downpour, run to the front door, filled with glee, and stand outside until you're soaked, never before this happy to see rain.
13. Walk back to your apartment incredibly slowly, after all, there's A.C. in the apartment building entranceway.
14. You sleep restlessly that night and cave the next day, enlisting your boyfriend to help you install the old, rusty A.C. from your last apartment, even though it doesn't fit in the window (the window is too wide). But you'll make it work (for the love of all things furry, you must!), so you use cut-up pieces from a cardboard box and duct tape to keep air from getting in or out. Then, the moment of truth: You push the power button, and Ahhhhh. There it is, that cold, delicious air. Whoever said living without A.C. is possible during a NYC summer? Not me!
Stay cool out there, my friends!
Photograph by Tom Schelling.