Desert Companion

Feel the Brrr

acstacy.jpg

AC Stacy
Illustration by Brent Holmes

In the furnace of a Vegas summer, nothing lets you deny reality like your BFF, the air conditioner.

These are delightful times to be alive, to be an American, to feel the growing collaboration and unification of our nation. Civility is at an all-time high. Clear, honest communication is the norm. Information is reliable and unaffected by bots or bullshit. The level of public discourse reflects a pop culture rife with courtesy, quality education, and a natural instinct to love strangers. It’s as if we have an irrepressible tendency to elevate one another and care for the environment in which we live.

About that environment: It’s August in Las Vegas, and it’s a perfect 72 degrees Fahrenheit. I love it, but then, I love everything and everyone. In my world, it is always 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Please don’t confuse this with Fahrenheit 451, because it’s absolutely nothing like that whatsoever. My climate is not about some dystopian nightmare in which we’re watching knowledge go up in propagandist flames on every page. Rather, it’s simply about me embracing the religion of air-conditioning.

Of all the possible messiahs, I was a tad surprised to find out that mine would be a Carrier Comfort Series 24ABB3 Air Conditioner with a Silencer System. In retrospect, it’s kind of obvious, though, right? Comfort, silence — everything I need from an existential philosophy. To boot, as all air-conditioning aficionados know, it bears the name of the inventor of modern air conditioning, Willis Carrier. (We are related by name and temperate aspirations.)   

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Thermal salvation is achieved by Willis Carrier’s 1902 discovery that “constant dew-point depression provides practically constant relative humidity,” which is known by engineers as the “law of constant dew-point depression,” and by humans beleaguered by cultural chaos and unimaginable amounts of physical and psychic sweat as “the law of constant depression.” After discovering the ability to control this depression, Willis Carrier concocted a device to force air through coils of cold water and defy reality.

I embrace this fervently. In fact, as I’ve progressed in my worship of modern air-conditioning, whilst coincidentally immersed in the new national zeitgeist of perpetual political and ethical disaster, I’ve developed an ability to ignore everything. This includes, but is not limited to, the possible downsides of A/C, which may have something to do with climate change or chronic rhinitis or some other sanctimonious shibboleths.

Religion demands commitment. Nothing comes between me and my Carrier. I won’t entertain thoughts of the A/C industry’s mysterious chemicals and abundant electricity use, nor burden myself with long-ago images of a presidential candidate standing at a Carrier plant in Indiana promising to save their jobs and the subsequent layoff of more than 500 Carrier workers. If I can forcibly generate enough inner peace to ignore that, and I do, I’m certainly not shaken when someone says, Oh, it’s too cold in your house, or, My goodness, your skin is dry and your eyes are red, or, You’re killing Mother Earth. Haters gonna hate.

And so it goes. As we see all over the newsapalooza, this is the summer of love. It’s a weird love that feels a little like hellfire and damnation. But I’m getting through it with a cool head and perma-frosty heart. When I think, and I try not to, I think about Willis Carrier defying reality. I think, I heart my A/C unit. I would hug it, but it’s outside of my 72-degree house, out there in the heat, so, no. May autumn bring me courage.

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