The date on my calendar is July 23, at least it was when I started this post. School-age kids crowd neighborhood stores and street corners during the day.
Me and New York City summer don’t get along so well. We never really had a chance. I arrived here late one night, ten years ago, with my life in a
I didn’t have a job at the time – story of my life – so I spent the next week sending out resumes in an un-air-conditioned apartment and trying not to drip on them. Very few residential buildings in New York have central air – vestiges of tenement housing and/or cheap builders. Everyone here uses window units. But I didn’t have one, or the money for one. So I sweated, and sweated some more. Relief came from afternoons at the library and evenings at the second-run movie theater, where cool air was free or really cheap. When I couldn’t take it anymore, I charged an air conditioner to my credit card and lugged it home on the subway with a luggage cart. A paycheck would be along eventually. Though when it did arrive I wouldn’t be so desperate for heat relief anymore.
Not only is summer my least favorite season, it’s my least favorite season to be unemployed. I spend many of my days plugging away at my (ok, wifey’s) computer in an apartment with poor airflow. I crank up the ceiling fan and position the
I regulate the air conditioning because wifey and I are paying for it and I don’t have a job. Our electric bill for a one-bedroom apartment, last summer, when I was employed, was over $200/month. Neither of us were here all day, and the window units were off, barring a heatwave. The cats just slept anyway, maybe barfed a couple times and meowed at the wall – all less-than-taxing tasks. They got by just fine in the heat. Our last electric bill was well under $200, and I was home a good deal of the time. We have the weather to thank for that.
But I still miss central air, a nice ancillary benefit of every one of my post-college jobs. Only the summer after my sophomore year of college, when I worked ground crew on a golf course, did I have to endure the heat. And not only was central air at work free, I got paid to enjoy it. I miss having to keep a sweatshirt in my drawer because building systems still can’t tell the difference between 70 and 50 degrees on an entire floor. Yet some cars can regulate temperatures for driver and passenger… go figure. I miss looking out the window into heat that’s almost visible from an air-conditioned fortress of an office building. I miss being cool all day everyday, and not having to think about it. Unemployment has its benefits, and work has its drawbacks. But employment easily wins the AC battle.