Editor column: A heated breaking point
Sunday night was the last straw.
Monday morning I broke down and told Sam I’d go by a window unit for our bedroom. We held out for as long as we could, but after a high of 97 degrees Sunday, followed by what felt like an eternity of tossing and turning on sweat-soaked sheets, we folded.
As someone who proudly used every opportunity to tell the world that the heat here “really isn’t that bad compared to a Cincinnati summer,” I feel somewhat ashamed, even emasculated, to toss in the towel in mid July.
(Speaking of Cincinnati, I’ll be making my annual trip home to see the family in early August. Was it Einstein who said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?)
For those who don’t know the story, Sam and I found a great place in May just a couple of blocks from the central business district. While doing our move-in inspection, we noticed that the air conditioning, or what we thought was the air conditioning, did not work.
When we raised the issue with the property manager, he looked at us with a puzzled expression. We took him over to the thermostat and explained we set it at 70 degrees but nothing happened.
He said something along the lines of: “This is a thermostat. I was wondering what you guys were talking about. This house is 110 years old. There’s no AC.”
Sam, after consulting with her father, informed me we should have known there was no air conditioning — we would have seen some sort of unit in the backyard or along the side of the house.
My response was somewhat of a half truth.
“I knew that.”
Yes, after having it pointed out, I did know that. However, during the process of moving and weed-eating the knee-high grass around the home, I never stopped to think “gee, I don’t see an AC unit.”
It’s the type of experience that reminds me how little I know about things I feel I should know. If we bought this place — luckily we’re renting — we’d be utterly screwed if something broke and needed to be repaired.
Just writing this, I’m having a flashback to when the fill valve (a term I now know thanks to Google) broke on the toilet at my old apartment on a Saturday. I was SOL.
Aside from filling up on windshield washing fluid and changing a tire, I’m in a similar boat when it comes to anything car related. I’m entirely dependent on the knowledge of others, as well as their kindness in avoiding the urge to see dollar signs when some idiot comes to them in need of help.
And I’d be completely oblivious in the kitchen were it not for a couple years working at a restaurant. (No, cooking is not a skill that should be limited to one sex or the other.)
Whose fault is it that I’m completely stupid?
My parents? Our education system? Never in the 12 years of Catholic schooling was I offered an auto mechanic class or shop.
I’d say this is a common affliction for people my age, but I don’t really know that. Maybe I’m the ignorant minority.
Or maybe this is not something unique to me or my generation. Maybe we’ve progressively learned less and less about these things. After all, if the vast majority of us could fix most issues with our cars or attend to our plumbing problems, we’d be eliminating a heck-of-a-lot of jobs.
Maybe some day I’ll learn a little bit more about my car and think to ask basic questions when renting an apartment or buying a home. For now, I’ll at least take comfort in knowing I can install a window unit.
Ryan Hoffman is editor of The Citizen Telegram. You can reach him at 970-685-2103 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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