Give Me Air Conditioning or Give Me Death!

July 17, 2015 | By | Comments (8)
My Apartment. Image: Courtesy tboeckel.de

My Apartment. Image: Courtesy tboeckel.de

We all know life’s a gamble. Great fortunes or terrible fates await around every corner. Maybe we get the world we deserve, but I’m not sure what sins I’ve been paying for these past two days.

I’ve lived in Birmingham, Alabama, for a year and a half. During that time, I’ve encountered copperhead snakes, wolf spiders, tiny scorpions, and once a cute kitten. I’ve been hit in the head by both a bat whose echolocation system direly required repair and a tennis ball by a friend who direly required tennis lessons. Once, I even wore LSU gear down to a Bama bar (shudder).

I’d thought I’d seen all the horrors the South had to offer, but two days ago, my air conditioning broke. In July. In Alabama.

There exist few things as all-encompassingly miserable as the heat of summer in the South. It’s a special form of torture, akin to listening to the banjo music from Deliverance for 24 hours straight. And unlike my flirtations with dry shampoo, this story doesn’t have a happy ending.

(Please excuse any misspellings. That’s just from sweaty fingers slipping on the keyboard, because IT’S 100 DEGREES IN THIS APARTMENT. THE ONLY PLACE HOTTER THAN THIS STUDIO IS THE AIR JUST OUTSIDE OF THIS APARTMENT. DANTE CAN TALK ALL HE WANTS ABOUT THE NINE LAYERS OF HELL—HE HASN’T STEPPED FOOT IN MY DOMICILE IN THE PAST TWO DAYS.)

My AC closet reached absolute zero. Could also use a dusting.

My AC closet reached absolute zero. Could also use a dusting.

Confused and melting like a Styrofoam plate in a microwave—I’ve learned so many lessons this week!—I opened the door to the closet housing my air conditioning unit. That’s when I learned the true definition of irony. While the rest of my apartment was working on me like water boiling an egg, there’s a veritable winter wonderland in that closet. Covering the pipes were snowballs, literally! Giant balls of ice sucking in all the coolness of the apartment, leaving me with an acrid desert (albeit a desert containing a couch, a chair, and a record player).

How did our ancestors do this? I’m shocked the human race had the desire to keep going after a summer in the South sans AC.

Sure, it might sound like fun, sort of like camping, but during the second hour of shivering in my ice-cold shower—that’s the hour when the showerhead stops resembling a microphone, so I can’t belt out classic rock songs or, gasp, showtunes any longer—the excitement drained away. Plus, I’m still nervous the stack of magazines on my coffee table will catch fire like, well, all of California.

Much like Game of Thrones, this story doesn’t have a happy ending (yet). The apartment still feels like the Sahara, even if there’s a snowstorm in my closet. Hopefully one day soon I’ll know once again the loving embrace of AC.

You know those Corona ads where the beer puts you on the beach? I wonder if there’s a beer that does the opposite. Until we chat again, I’ll be seeking one …

Travis M. Andrews is an associate editor for Southern Living. Follow him on Twitter @travismandrews.

COMMENTS

  1. MM

    This is the worst time to AC issues. I need air conditioning repair in Las Vegas from someone that won’t rip me off.

    August 29, 2015 at 8:56 pm
  2. Daniela Adams

    I had the exact same problem a few weeks ago. The air conditioning just broke on me for no apparent reason during the hottest days of summer! I know exactly how you feel. I stayed in coffee shops a lot during those days, just so I didn’t have to be home melting slowly from the heat. AC is such a blessing, it sure does make life waaaay more easier and enjoyable. I hope you get your AC fixed soon! http://www.rivervalleyac.com/

    August 25, 2015 at 1:23 pm
  3. Jeff Shriver

    I hope the owner of the apartment fixed this problem or upgraded the air conditioning system. They need to upgrade their air conditioning system to a SEER certified system, especially when they have paying residents

    July 21, 2015 at 1:17 pm
  4. Jeff Shriver

    I hope the owner of the apartment fixed this problem or upgrade the air conditioning system. They need to upgrade their air conditioning system to a SEER certified system, especially when they have paying residents.

    July 21, 2015 at 1:16 pm
  5. Kathleen

    I carpooled with a nice lady on Saturday. She had disclosed to other riders that her AC didn’t work but I didn’t get the memo. It was at least 95 degrees outside but the air blowing inside her vehicle felt even hotter.
    I know we survived without AC growing up, but probably had the commonsense not to travel like that in the middle of the day in the Deep South.
    Hope you get your’s fixed. Sounds maybe like a slow freon leak. And I hope you have a decent landlord who will get on it quick.
    Good luck.🙂

    July 20, 2015 at 8:48 am
  6. AngelaS

    Step 1. Buy a portable air conditioner. Step 2. Close door of room with a window. Step 3. Plug in portable air conditioner. Step 4. Remember never be without your emergency supplies, namely a portable air conditioner.

    July 19, 2015 at 3:36 am
  7. joan

    Stay calm, drink water only, keep a wet wash rag around your neck, buy a fan, and find a friend with a/c.

    July 17, 2015 at 3:22 pm
  8. Teddi Cole

    Here in Little Rock (forecast high of 98 today) our AC hasn’t worked properly for at least a month. First, the fellow said it was the condenser unit (?) then it was the coil (??) and, after that, it must be the air handler (???)! Wish we had just said scrap the whole thing. Is there anything else that can go wrong with this now cobbled-together system? No, don’t tell me…just send Sonic coupons. Happy Hour is from 2:00-4:00.

    July 17, 2015 at 2:33 pm

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