It’s So Damn Hot

From the time I was ten, I lived in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C. DC is a city built on a swamp. It is not so much about the heat; it is about the humidity. It is stifling.

When I went to college in Boston, it got hot up there, but it was mild compared to DC when there was the humidity. In addition, my sister went to Tulane, and my father lived in Slidell, Louisiana, during that time. Talk about humidity. The summertime is oppressive.

I had a friend from college that grew up in Fairfield, CT. When I visited her the summer between our freshman and sophomore summers, she emphasized how she had an air-conditioner in her room. She was the only one with a unit in her room. I didn’t truly understand why that was such a big deal until I went. The truth is, the heat wasn’t that big of a deal.

She came to see me, and we had central air. She couldn’t get over it. It was so novel. She would go outside and come inside multiple times to experience the hot to the cold. She was giddy.

That summer, I worked at Neiman-Marcus. I had to dress up every day. I would finish the day, go to my car, turn on the car and crank up the air-conditioning, stand outside the car and wait 5-7 minutes depending on the heat of the day and then get into a cool car to go back home. It was an epic experience, but I will save that for another day.

We have spent our summers on the east end of Long Island since 1999. The heat and humidity have amplified over the past few years. It is the humidity that has really changed. It is that stickiness that sap that energy out of your body.

The climate has changed over the forty decades. Look to Seattle, where only 30% of the people live with air-conditioning. In Paris, few apartments are air-conditioned. Because I grew up in DC, I would never consider building a home or even buying a home without central air and obviously central heat. The construction of homes will change in both places, and the air-conditioning takes a toll on the environment.

Today we woke up to such wet air that we closed every window. How do we roll this back? I always look to the private sector and all the fascinating start-ups that are working on the problem. Something has to change, or I fear what the planet will feel like in the next forty decades.