Climate & Environment

Air conditioners are the children of the XNUMXth century, in America even my generation generally does not remember non-refrigerated times - but it was not like that in our country

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Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock
Disclaimer: The translations are mostly done through AI translator and might not be 100% accurate.

For some of us, children of the late 2000th century, the new millennium began - or was announced a few years before - with computers, the Internet, mobile phones, and all kinds of virtualities. The menu started much more modestly and thoroughly: with an air conditioner. At the height of the hot summer, whether it was 2001 or XNUMX, after I was irrevocably fed up with the fact that living in a suburban mansard looked like a permanent heatstroke, two people in work overalls with the logo of a reputable company came and installed the so-called air conditioner on my balcony. In a building of forty apartments in a not very representative part of the city, where those who earned modest pensions from failed socialist enterprises of a long-nonexistent assortment and unclear purpose prevailed, my air conditioner was the first and probably the only one for another year or two. The master advised to install the outdoor unit so that it is not visible from the street. "That it may not attract thieves," said he; I guess those were the last summers when owning an air conditioner was something rare and prestigious, so someone could be fooled and think that the owner of such a device has money and valuables.

Sometimes I imagine what it would be like if all of that suddenly disappeared, like in some kind of retro-utopian movie: if the world were to return to factory settings, and for me that is the world from my childhood and youth, in the seventies and eighties: pot-bellied EI or Čajavec televisions with two or three channels, FM radio, cassettes and records, fixed telephones "Iskra" and eternally busy lines with "doubles". Long, hot summers with whispers in a darkened room; the hot and already somewhat smelly air stands and harasses you as if it has something personal against you, the Sun hits you in the head from all angles as if it surrounded the Earth, the weather does not move and the evening freshness does not come, the day is an endless rhapsody of shining sweat. It's a little annoying, but then again, you don't worry, half because it's normal and you don't know how it could be otherwise (because it's summer, for God's sake!), and half because you're young and nothing is really difficult for you, although you are not yet aware of it.

I imagine, therefore, how I would bear the disappearance of all that I surrounded myself with in the meantime. I think a week would be enough for me to forget that cell phones ever existed, and to rejoice in the new-found normality of everyday life without the idiotic transceiver in my pocket, marveling at myself for so long agreeing to carry that object that kept me on the short to the chain of obedience and the so-called availability. I would forget about the Internet in, say, two weeks; it would probably take the longest to return from YouTube laziness to the world of playing records (and only recording cassettes!), and that would be it. I would quickly and not very difficult, at least that's what I like to believe, return to the generational cultural and technological basics, and I wouldn't regret the "lost" much. However, the disappearance of the climate controlled by the remote control would completely defeat me: I can no longer bear the excessive naturalness of the weather. Especially not in the house! With nature, it's best to be at a distance anyway: rain and snow seem the most romantic when you look at them through the window, from the comfort of a dry and warm room. Otherwise they are wet and cold, sticky and slippery.

Of course, air conditioners are a child of the XNUMXth century, in America even my generation generally does not remember unrefrigerated times, but it was not like that here: until the late nineties or early XNUMXst century, there were only fancy banks, offices, hotels, cafes and the like places were truly air-conditioned - our houses, apartments and cars are certainly not.

Circumstances have arranged themselves so that after twenty years, or for the first time in the new century, I spend these hot, inhuman June and July weeks without proper air conditioning in my apartment, at the mercy of the brachial force of a burning star (which is not there). The ventilation that lazily muddies the hot air does not help much, the ventilation even less, because it comes down to the heat blowing in the hallways and rooms, so I withdraw into myself (but, it's too hot there, too, jbg!), I try to use as little energy as possible and above all, not to get annoyed, and I'm trying to summon that feeling of the world from the past, from the time when it was completely normal for me that you couldn't escape from the summer heat anywhere, especially not in the city, in the apartment, in my only natural environment. I'm afraid it's gone after all: climate is my XNUMXst century, and there's no going back.

And if anyone knows a good craftsman who would come immediately to install a new air conditioner, let him contact the newsroom. I don't ask for the price! The humming and blowing of a powerful machine full of Freon is the pleasure that makes all others possible. Then I can turn on the record player, and listen to the records that crackle so beautifully in the cooled room, discreetly emanating that charming cool of the twentieth century...


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