Quick quiz: Which one of these big fat Orwellian lies is NOT actually from the novel 1984?
- War is peace
- Freedom is slavery
- Ignorance is strength
- Santa Fe summers are a minty, breezy treat!
Here’s the thing. I’ve lived in some pretty hot places. Washington, DC? New York City? Hong Kong? Venture outside in Hong Kong in the summer, and a flash flood of flop sweat cascades instantly down your front.
But at least those cities acknowledged their discomfort and did something about it. You can walk for miles in downtown Hong Kong through air-conditioned walkways connecting air-conditioned buildings. Seriously. Miles.
By contrast, if you're house-hunting in Santa Fe and you ask about air-conditioning, your real estate agent will get this well-rehearsed, blissed-out look on his face and say, "Oh, we have dry heat here! It's so comfortable you won't even notice it…" It's like talking to somebody from a cult.
So here we all are, living in our non-air-conditioned homes, wearing sponges under our armpits. But that's okay because, you know, we have that dry heat. Wait. They bake pizzas in dry heat, don't they?
Longtime residents will earnestly tell you to hand-crank all of your windows wide open at night, when it's cool, and then crank them all shut in the morning. That way, the adobe walls will keep the cool air in all day.
What a steaming pile of horse crap.
First, I've got stucco on the outside and plaster on the inside, and I have no actual proof that there is adobe in-between the two. My house could be made of Legos or chunky peanut butter for all I know. And second, if I want to do that much cranking I'll open a homemade ice cream business.
What are my options? I could retrofit my place for air-conditioning, which involves punctuating the walls with duct holes so it looks like Old Ironsides broadsided me with cannonballs all morning.
Or, I could get something called a "swamp cooler." As I understand those, they flood your house with three feet of water, and live alligators circulate the moisture by thrashing their powerful tails. The fear of being eaten alive takes your mind off the heat, or at least that's how the Santa Fe Science Dude explained it to me.
I checked out some big room fans at about $400 each. I'm not a big fan of big fans. For that price, I could rent a chimpanzee in a red-checked bandana to fan me with a giant palm leaf all day.
Fortunately, I have used my own ingenuity to solve the problem just in time for the onslaught of the merciless summer heat we supposedly find so comfortable. It cost me a bundle, but it works great.
How did I do it, you ask? The solution was as simple as a dozen big-ass Frigidaires, spaced strategically around my home with their doors wide open. Now, it's like sleeping in an igloo.
Mind you, I'm not saying my solution is perfect. The eerie nighttime glow of all those fridge lights is starting to get just a little annoying…
Robert Basler's humor column runs twice monthly in SFR. Email the author: firstname.lastname@example.org