As I was driving home earlier this week, enjoying day three of temps in the mid to upper 60’s, finally a nice stretch that might stay now (I’m not checking the forecast forward by the way just in case) I had my windows down welcoming the breeze of the early evening and the drive, Alan Parsons “I Robot” playing just loud enough to remind me of when Ma might knock on my bedroom wall and I came to one of the many, waaaay too many traffic lights on Route 9 here in Poughkeepsie.
I was in the middle lane of three when from behind me in the outside lane I heard heavy metal. Definitely not the Alan Parsons Project, and definitely not a just loud enough Mom knock on the wall kinda volume. No, this was at a Mom pound on the wall kinda volume, maybe even accompanied with yells, wall broom handles and threats. It sat behind me, just to my left drowning out I Robot’s “Breakdown” until the light turned green and as we moved forward it passed me … windows wide … a mini van, a kidless mini van, with the van’s somewhat younger Mom driving it. No worries of broom handles or threats I guess. No pound on walls when you’re the one behind those walls right? Just sensible walls on wheels. I thought to myself “ Nice. Nicely done. Nicely loudly played open windows some young Mom.”
Besides noting a somewhat younger moms’ nice play and rockin’ out in a mini van I did note something else, something I just don’t quite get and something, really, that I find a bit dismaying. She and I and a relative handful of others, compared to the amount of traffic you’ll find on Route 9 at this time, were the only ones with our windows open.
Now when I tell you the weather was just perfect, throw that sweatshirt from the morning in the back seat when you get in to head home your t-shirt just fine perfect? The sun setting sitting setting just right, not blinding, no you don’t need your unnecessary too cool shades perfect? A breeze that is just, just, as you sit at traffic lights with a comfy elbow out? Yeah, it was that perfect. That finally weather, the weather with a small time window that you’ll eventually hark back on not too long from now, annoyingly so, but fondly, as you do every year, about how you wish it could have stayed like this when the heat comes.
Yet I noted so many closed windows, so many driving closed with what, all I can assume, is their AC on already. Really?! 6 months or so of cooped closed windows at home, at the office if you were there, in your car because Winter and when you finally get a chance for some fresh air, especially now, you keep your windows closed and go for the AC?
I mentioned this to a best of friend at work who sheepishly raised a hand.
“it’s because it seems kind of oppressive” he said.
“No, no it doesn’t” I said with an eyebrow.
“But to go from the cold to this it can definitely feel kind of oppress …”
I let him trail off as his justification was just lame.
Now admittedly I don’t like AC, I hate it. At work? Well, that is what it is when it is and I have my at work zip up hoodie at the ready just in case. But given the choice? No, I ain’t using it if I’m in a position to not. I haven’t used AC in the car since I lived in Florida for a short time and that was 20+ years ago and even then it was as infrequent as possible. Not wanting the need to maybe change my shirt the second I clocked in the only reason for it. Hell, I’ve owned BB going on 4 years now and I’m not even really sure if his AC works. I mean, I tried it once when I first bought him, just a check it kind of thing, but it didn’t do a lot of AC’ing, just a lot of air blowing, was probably in need of a re-charge I thought but? That would be a waste of money since I’m not going to use it especially as that runs around 150 bucks or so these days.
At home? I had one of those inside, on wheels droid looking things with a vent hose for a window when I first took my now going on 7 years singleness on the road to an apartment in Hyde Park. It was really just a noisy bother and only eventually had me laying things on or over it, usually Pirates hats or a Tees first step before the hamper and repeating Star Wars lines at it … “This isn’t the AC droid you’re looking for … ”
My wonderful little apartment here for the last 3 now going on 4 summers has central air and I know that “central air” can, for some, call heavenly horns right? The thing realtors surely sell hard, but for me it’s a just a thing, a thing I won’t use.
I have fans and open windows with bought cat seats or fashioned storage binned ones with towel tops. I mean why even have the idea of an open window if you can’t sit in it with a cat and see and hear and feel their view?
I like open widows and being aware of the sound outside of them. Throw in some fans for the summer and I’m all set. I want to hear the singing of birds and bugs in the morning and the trains that used to pass just across the Hudson in my Hyde Park apartment at night, inspiring clickety clackety clack bad poetry. I want to hear traffic in the distance, sirens and stories imagined, to hear neighbors fighting or laughing or cooking with plate and silverware sounds, wondrous things that waft scents and clicks up the stairs, open windows. I refuse to not hear the world, to not feel natural breezes aided with a fan or two, to not have to curse when rains come and I have to close them.
Here, at times, I’ve heard the owls at night or the roosters in the morning, the cows when they’re cowing and reminding of cow wants, the sniffing and huffing of horses, dogs barking and cats occasionally reminding other cats to back the fuck off. I want to hear the lawn mower possibly wake me from an early Saturday afternoon nap after I spent Friday night being an idiot and staying up too late like I was a kid again, I want that to hear that mower wake me and throw at me some of the sweetest of newly cut grass smells.
Can’t your closed window AC just take a sec, till when you really have the need for your creature comfort to then bitch about the heat later? Just take a sec to air stuff out now on a perfect of Spring rides home?
As she drove off, that somewhat younger mom, I applauded her moment, my moment, a not quiet one for sure, Mom’s a knockin’, maybe on the way for a pick up of the kids to fill that mini-van with a different not quite musical noise, a one of obligation and love but she had her loud windows open, for just a bit, welcoming a real breeze … with a soundtrack. A loud soundtrack.
Cheers somewhat younger Mom.