There are many days in late spring and well into summer that I have thought to create a shrine to Willis Carrier. The Mr. Carrier, the inventor of modern air conditioning. I think a handsome portrait of Mr. Carrier in a simple frame on a table top with fresh flowers and a bowl of ice would suffice. No candles nor incense on this altar.
In the early part of the 20th Century, Carrier invented, and developed his so called “apparatus for treating air”. It was the first spray-type device to humidify air by heating water or dehumidify air by cooling it. After much research and development and the invention of refrigeration machines designed for space cooling came about. Then by overcoming the obstacles of two World Wars and the Great Depression, the Carrier Corporation became a viable and successful organization.
I can imagine the sheer delight of the first people to encounter air conditioning for the very first time. The experience comes to mind the very first time I switch on the air conditioner at the beginning of the cooling season each spring.
I’m convinced that a/c is one of the landmark inventions that has increased the lifespan of human beings. My opinion is largely based on anecdotal, personal experience. Because I’ve suffered two bouts of heat stroke, I notice hot, humid days to a great degree. Air conditioning is not only a convenience, it’s a necessity for my well being.
I thought I’d remember the degree of my aversion to hot, humid days from year to year. The memory is only that I don’t like summer heat, not the actual physical sensations.
This year, summer heat started very early in the year, with some hot spells beginning in March. Luckily, there were also some refreshing cold spells, too. However, on May 26th, the very first actual summerlike day dawned. Heat and humidity had arrived together. The part of the year that I dream of living in Scandinavia had begun.
The misery started with my desire to trim the shrubbery around the yard. I felt the oppressive heat and closeness of the air, but set about trimming the bushes anyway. By the time I’d finished the chore, I was half-soaked in perspiration.
Then, because I was already sweaty, I decided to mow the yard. It took me longer than usual to push the mower around the property. I also needed to drink more cups of water. I had to mop the sweat away from my stinging eyes every couple of minutes or so.
The last half an hour was difficult. I had become very tired. My leg and back muscles had a dull ache. I was cheered on that I only had a few more passes to make. When I finished, my tee shirt and gym shorts were saturated with sweat. I felt and probably looked like a wreck. By the time I wound up and stashed the electrical cord for the mower, I could barely move.
I found a can of green coconut water chilling in the fridge. Then switched on the large floor fan in my den. I stripped to my skivvies and just sat in front of the breeze and sipped the coconut juice. My mental activity was quiet and primal.
Checking my digital weather station, I read 90 degrees Fahrenheit with 62 percent relative humidity. Yes, the struggles of summer were here.
I got off the floor and cranked up the a/c, then headed for the shower.
The Blue Jay of Happiness wonders who came up with the crazy notion of mowing yards.