Thursday, July 31, 2008

Down in the dumps. . .

. . . that's how Mom would describe how I've been feeling lately. The intense heat, humidity and dirty air make me feel trapped indoors. Since nearly having heatstroke during a trip to the Middle East years ago, I can no longer tolerate the heat. Thank God for air conditioning! D.C. has experienced an abrupt increase in violent crime this month. I theorize that our dreadful summer weather is a factor. Too many folks don't have air conditioning. Is it possible that frustration over being unable to find comfort causes over-reactions and modifies behavior of people who usually would not think of harming another? To make my point, I offer the following. For several years, spouse and I lived on the top floor of a very old D.C. apartment building. The air conditioning was cooled air sent throughout the building through ancient duct work. Baffles to direct it to all parts of the building had long ago broken or stopped functioning. Some tenants had to wear sweaters all summer and others, like us, had to cover our windows with those Mylar thermal blankets and sit in front of electric fans. On top of that, some fool had stated that insects don't fly above 60 feet, so screens were unnecessary. Yeah, right! Across the alley and across the street were flat rooves. [I know that spelling looks funny, but that's what I was taught in 4th grade.] These rooves held standing water. You know where I'm going with this. . . . Imagine going to bed each night, windows open in hopes of a nighttime cool-down, covered in insect repellent, a sheet and a fan blowing across your prostrate body. The mosquitoes seemed to love buzzing around our ears looking for that one spot free of repellent. We put up with those conditions for seven years because the rent was low and the location was within walking distance to both of our jobs. The first summer in our current digs was like heaven! No open windows or streetlight glare, noise, or bugs. We both marvelled at what a difference a cool, quiet, dark room made in our sleep habits. We no longer woke up ornery and still tired! So . . . is there any wonder that crime increases in the summer? I wish I could buy air conditioners for everyone who doesn't have one. Maybe then we could all be more civil and sane.

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