Please Turn Up The AC


Extreme weather seems to be the order of the day lately. Droughts, forest fires, heavy rain, and extreme heat are all in play around the world. Some places are used to this sort of occurrence and are as prepared as well as possible. While other locations are not nearly as well equipped to handle serious weather. Denizens of the west coast of Canada, sadly, are not unfamiliar with forest fires. However, they are less prepared for the high heat that has been plaguing the usually temperate city of Vancouver and environs this summer.

Here in Montreal we usually get a few heat waves each summer (defined as three days in a row with a temperature of 30°C/86°F or higher). It is important to consider that this does not take into account the effect of Montreal’s humidity which drives the ‘feels like’ concept way up.

Mind you, we try not to complain too much, as it can be a long winter!

But, like the weather conditions, AC has also changed.

In addition it’s not as if are helpless as we face the brutal heat, we do have air conditioning. But, like the weather conditions, AC has also changed.

In our car the AC is on until it’s time to switch to the heater. Gone are the days of open windows for us. A lovely cooling breeze while driving is very pleasant. And, I’m pleased to say, the AC in our KIA Soul is very strong. But the same cannot be said for the AC units we install every summer in our apartment.

These units have a lifetime; after several years they just don’t measure up anymore and have to be – ecologically – disposed of. We got a new unit this spring and, even when on high, it leaves much to be desired. It certainly is quieter than the older models, but not nearly as effective.

Before I begin to blast the manufacturer, I did a little research, and found that many places no longer air condition to the degree they once did. Even some of my favourite bars and restaurants can be muggy where once they were bastions of coolness. There is a mall not too far from our neighbourhood in which there was an English Pub (now long gone). I recall that as a youngster when you walked through the mall (which was not air conditioned) and past the open door of The Maidenhead Inn, the cool beer-scented air would escape providing a most glorious respite from the heat.

… the cool beer-scented air would escape providing a most glorious respite from the heat.

As a boy, one of the few air conditioned establishments in our area was the local drug store. Walking into this corner store on a very hot day was something akin to alighting from a plane in the artic. By the time you had selected your Popsicle®, killed a few cool minutes checking the comics, your nipples would be suitable for cutting glass, and the early traces of an ice cream headache had started to tingle behind your forehead.

But the antidote was instant upon stepping back out into the heat. Like a wall it smacked you in the chops and reminded you that it was summer. As if to say ‘You bitched about the cold all winter, put a sock in it now’, the humidity fogged up eyeglasses and dampened skin.

I still go to the same drug store, although now it’s called a pharmacy, and it is still air conditioned, but I have to admit it just doesn’t measure up to the days of my childhood. But then … does anything?

Published by DCMontreal

DCMontreal - Deegan Charles Stubbs - is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

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