I grew up near where I currently live, at 5,000 feet above sea level in a small mountain town; sounds kind of like South Park doesn't it?
So today was hot. Like, record-breaking hot. It was all over the news, internationally, with highs an hour away (deep down in the desert) of 125 degrees!
Here it was a nice "cool" 100. Record-breaking still.
I remember back when I was about twelve years old and it was a record-breaking 96. People might foo-foo it, but where we live, few have air conditioning. Even most stores, schools, etc lack air conditioning, so 96 is HOT.
My little town lacked a/c anywhere except the post office. I recall sitting in front of the family fan (we were kind of poor so we had one box fan we crowded around and one small clip-on fan) just melting in place, waiting for a friend to come over. My parents gave us five bucks to go check the mail and so we did and "OMG" it was wonderful! The post office had air conditioning! The only place in town! So we hung out for two hours, bored as hell but cooled off, until we got kicked out for loitering. pshaw.
I also recall roasting in my bedroom, itching from prickly heat rash, wanting for dead every summer, which is why when I bought a home here, I wanted it set for a/c. My childhood bedroom was a loft room, uninsulated, facing west with one tiny window. Most every summer day might reach 85 (most summer says are 75-80) but my room, from 4:00pm until 4:00am, would be 96 degrees no matter what, with a little clip fan to "cool" me. I hated it.
So today I enjoyed our air conditioning when it was 100 out.
I even more enjoyed it when 3,500 acres caught fire about 30 miles west, with drift smoke and ashes filling my hot mountain air.
I remember it was 88 out, at 9:30am, and no breeze- we always have breeze- so it felt sweltering. At noon, 100 degrees, we got a breeze and I thought, phew a breeze but it will bring the fire bugs out. Having evacuated more times than I can recall, well, I hate fires.
So I enjoy our central air because my asthma, my husband and son's asthma, does not have to get too bad because our air system has a filter..because the sky is orange, the sun and sky the same eerie color as a partial eclipse, my cars dusty with falling ashes.
Oh and there was a smaller fire about five miles away. A meth lab blew up. yep. Same thing happened two summers ago.
But anyway, sometimes Los Angeles with bitch and moan, oooooh it's in the 90's we're all going to die (just like they do when it is "freezing" out at 50 degrees) and I'm sorry, LA, but I lack sympathy.
Why? Most Angelinos have a/c. Not all; I had a boyfriend in college from out there and no a/c. But yes, most have a/c. to escape 90 degree heat. The few who don't have options. I bet every Angelinos has within a 5 minute drive and in many cases a five minute walk at least one of the following, all with a/c.....
1. Library (my town had one, but no a/c)
2. Shopping mall
3. mega-mart store
4. Starbucks, Mc Donalds, some food establishment
5. Grocery store (again my town had one but no a/c)
6. Official cooling center for those without a/c
7. public swimming pool
.... the list goes on....
What's the list have in common? All those places are within five minutes and have a/c so the Angelinos have an option to go to the mall or library or whatever and cool down for the day.
We, the people in my hometown, did not. Even our local swimming holes, creeks, often dried up and the one that didn't was usually filled with naked stoned hippies and drunk teenagers.
We had no choice but to swelter.
I often begged my parents for even a little window a/c unit. I see them all over town nowadays. I don't know if it was poverty, how windows were made in the 1930s (many homes were built around then), the electrical system or what but in the 80s, no one in my town had those window a/c units. It's like they didn't exist and yet they did. What's up with that?