“The Unchilled Life”: “Living” sans A.C.

This NYTimes story reminded me of another Wichita writer, Gaylord Dold, who wrote a series of murder mysteries set in the 1950’s Wichita, KS.  He described the joys of living summers in Wichita without air conditioning.  This has been an unusually cool and damp summer here in the Air Capital of the World;  most summers by this time of the season, my grass is pretty brown and getting browner – not so much this year.

As the Times article points out, many are turning off their A.C.s due to economic hardship, but a subset of air conditioning spurner’s are doing so due to green living and health motivations.  One A.C. terminator states:

“It’s not like we’re health-nut crazies or a bunch of dirty hippies dancing naked around the fire. We’re all white-collar geeks living an exurban lifestyle. We just all share the philosophy of rolling with the seasons if you can.”

Other adherents to turning the A.C. off indicate that they lose weight during the summer by being outside more and eating less.

Sorry guys, this is not a trend that I am going to get excited about…


Filed under Economics, Healthcare, Kansas, The Economy, The Environment

14 responses to ““The Unchilled Life”: “Living” sans A.C.

  1. jammer5

    Ya, right. Watch em turn off their heaters when it’s in single digits during the winter.

  2. Piss on this idea. If there is one thing I hate more than dirty hippies dancing naked around the fire it’s swamp ass.

  3. When Gaylord Dold was writing those novels in the 50s, much of Wichita didn’t have air conditioning! I remember my parents getting their first window unit and I’m pretty sure it was in the 60s. I also remember the still, hot nights and lying awake because it was too hot to sleep. When there was a breeze it was bearable, otherwise you spent lots of time at the swimming pool!

    This way of losing weight doesn’t sound any more pleasant than 6176’s weight loss program!

  4. ashazart

    Actually, Gaylord Dold did not write the novels during the 1950s, he wrote them in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It was his character, Mitch Roberts, who lived in an earlier era.

    • You are absolutely correct. My words were: “…Gaylord Dold, who wrote a series of murder mysteries set in the 1950’s Wichita, KS.” The word “set” being of importance there.

      The Mitch Roberts character lived on past his time in Wichita, IIRC. Mitch Roberts was named for Robert Mitchum. Dold was a fan of Mitchum.

      Never mind… I now see that you were responding to the post preceding yours. And thanks for the correction.

      • ashazart

        No problem, I could have just let fnord’s comment pass without an attempt at clarification, but I knew Gaylord quite well and I was inwardly chuckling at the thought of him writing his novels during the 50s, when he was a child. 😉

        And fnord, if you are a wuss, then so am I. Having lived in Wichita many years (I am now in Topeka), I would have a very hard time of it without air conditioning.

      • I appreciate being corrected on facts. I didn’t read the post accurately and now I have it straight.

        Tell us about this Kansas author.

  5. Thanks for that info, ashazart.

    Welcome to Prairie P&Ps.

    I think you’d need to be young or very tolerant of heat to think clearly enough to write words that made sense in Wichita summers without air conditioning.

    Or, maybe I’m a wuss. 😉

  6. Gaylord Dold is an attorney. A friend of mine tells me that his dad was a pharmacist. Last I knew, Dold lived in College Hill. From when he was quite young he was an avid fan of detective novels/mysteries. He has a deep understanding, it would seem to me at least, of how the mystery genre is supposed to work. What made the Wichita-era books fun was Dold talking about Lawrence Stadium and other well know landmarks.

    I remember one passage where he talked about the curves of Lincoln around the Nunnery near St Jo as being brick streets (which I believe they were). He described the bricks that were streaked with snow and slush as looking like “raw liver”. P.D. James, the famous English mystery writer, used this same allusion. Maybe she got it from Dold, who knows? 🙂

  7. wicked

    I lived for 24 years in an old, unairconditioned, story-and-a half farmhouse with only some insulation in the floor of the half-story upstairs. There were one or two rare times when we used a small window unit–and I do mean small–that hardly cooled one room. The first was when our first daughter was born in the hottest summer on record: 1980. She must have been on the weight loss program mentioned, because she didn’t gain much in those first few months. She was born in late March, and that June was as hot as Hades.

    When the family grew to six, I cleared out the upper half story and converted it to a large bedroom office for then-hubby and I, leaving the two bedrooms downstairs for the four girls. I’d even stapled insulation, intending to drywall the main area of the room, where the roof was high, then sloped to about 6 feet. In the summer, the temp up there reached well over 110 degrees. At night, it remained in the 90’s and above at times. The four very large windows were on the east and west side of the house, so a breeze rarely reached inside. Because the house was so old, there wasn’t a way to add duct work for central heat and air, and a lot of sleep was lost during the summer, no matter how many fans were running. I would sit up there during the day at the computer and write, sweat soaking me, even with two big fans. I did discover that running cold water on my wrists could create a quick cooldown, but it didn’t last long.

    If any idiot thinks I would try something similar to that again, I’d smack ’em. LOL Central AC was a miracle, once I moved away.

    And let’s not talk about winters and a floor furnace, ‘kay?

    • I and my dad remember the summer of 1980 in KS. It was miserable, without question… I recall a day in August that was in the low 90’s which seemed cool, by comparison.

      • Hubby and I were married in mid September of 1980 and it was still too hot to breathe. It’s a good thing I was in the throes of love and lust that summer so the memories are mostly really good ones! 🙂

        If you’re HOT, the world may as well be hot with you.

  8. Ann

    Come on down to Oz. Last summer it was 47 degrees celcius for 5 straight days. Power blackouts everywhere and nowhere to hide. It was shocking.

    • Hi Ann! So good to see you!

      I had to google (at one point I knew how to do that conversion, but not any longer) and this is what I found:

      47 degrees Celsius = 116.6 degrees Fahrenheit

      OMG! I’ll bet there were power blackouts! I would have blacked out too!