Saturday, February 16, 2013

Climate Controlled Chaos

I remember reading William Faulkner's widow bought an air conditioner the day after he died... I get it...

Recently I made the comment out loud that I was finally happy being the person no one expected.  I have lived most of my adult life trying to fit into some arbitrary box I am pretty sure I built on my own.  There were all kinds of rules imposed on me by my employer, my loved ones, my religion, my universe.  There were few rules I did break and some I made up on my own.  I think that is why I have always been fascinated with the story of Faulkner's widow.  Can you imagine living in the deep south with no air conditioning, a brilliant but alcoholic husband and only ice cubes (I assume she had a freezer since that was not allegedly the first appliance she bought) to keep you from catching on fire?  I hope she was young, never had to be pregnant or go through menopause in the heat.  I always imagined that buying that air conditioner was her first step towards taking her life into her own hands and cooling off, damn it!

I am reminded of my first action when my divorce was finalized.  A friend of mine recently bought a lizard after a long and protracted divorce.  Another friend booked a trip to Europe.  My first action was not nearly as interesting or exciting, I simply opened the blinds in my house.  I have not shut them since.  It makes for some interesting dashes from the bathroom through the kitchen and into the bedroom when I am fresh out of the shower.  I have no desire to protect linens from fading or shield my life from prying neighbors (even my ex who lives next door) or keep my three year old lab from barking at passing critters.  In fact sometimes my labs and I lay on my bed and play "I see the squirrel".  A fun game in the house, rather dangerous for me when I am walking them in the park.
It is all worth the bright light in spring and dull days in the fall because I am able to look outside.

I just spent a week sharing a room with my mother in her condo in Florida.  She agonized over the temperature at every hour of the day.  Turn off the air conditioner from am to pm, open or close shades in the heat of the day, turn on the air conditioner from pm to am, watch for particles that could harm you in the floating fresh air.  It is an exhausting routine and I found myself falling into her climatic rhythms in just one week.  Many times I have commented that people who live in Paradise do not appreciate the moment. They complain about the weather, the bright light, the dark evenings. I yearned for my own completely open cottage and the ability to let the cold air in even if the heat was on.  The electric and gas companies are my friends as I literally throw caution to the wind and forget to close my doors.  Light and warmth, darkness and cold I embrace all these conditions.

So you go girl, I mean Mrs. Faulkner.  I am not sure what was full of sound or fury but I totally get why you opted for creature comfort right after your husband's death.  Men sweat and women perspire, we just do not like the effect.


  1. What a great post. Sometimes, its just a matter of being aware that you have those rules you're living by, and asking why.

  2. For some it's rule what rule I didn't know there was a rule about that?

  3. You know except for Oleg in the Ukraine and Gustav in Germany (my stats say one reader in each country is following me) my sisters and I are sure having fun with this blog...