July 7, 2012

Heat-made homeless - sorta

So - like most of the country, it has been non-stop triple digits in St Louis for the last week plus.  In my house, there is no central air.  I have 1 portable air conditioner - the kind that sits on the floor and has a big tube that vents the hot air to the window.  You see, the windows in my house slide left-to-right, not up-and-down, so window units just don't work for me.

There is something about ACs that I find very odd.  Running an air conditioner creates heat.  That's why they have to be vented outside, you see.  "Cold" isn't really a thing. Heat is a thing - but cold is merely the lack of heat.  Much like darkness isn't a thing, but light is. So an AC doesn't "Create cold" it just eliminates heat.  The problem with that is, heat is energy.  And neither mass nor energy can be destroyed.  It can, however, be moved from one place to another - or changed into a different form.  And that is what ACs do - they move heat.

But like I said, the process of moving heat actually creates more heat.  (Technically, it transforms a different form of energy - potential energy - into heat. Energy and mass cannot be destroyed - or created, unless you are God - and I am not God.  Neither is my AC.)

So... because it's one puny AC for an entire house - and because it's super hot - and because I leave it running all the time - my little AC has stopped cooling anything.  Oh, every so often it will pump out some cold air - but just for a few seconds.  Then it's back to blowing around the hot air that it's little coils are actually making hotter.  Apparently AC makers don't like being sued for burning down things, so they build in a switch that keeps the AC from working too hard and over heating.  The irony is the AC needs an cooling unit to work better.

As a result of all of this - I cannot stand being in my own house.  Last night, for example, I took no less than 5 cold showers trying to make it through the night.  As in I would pass out - not sleep, really, just stop being aware for a few minutes - wake up - freak out about how hot I am and how I can't feel my hands - and then go jump in the shower for a half hour.  The scary part - (ignoring the loss of feeling) - is that even on straight-up cold water, I wasn't cold.  It felt better than the super hot, obviously, but it wasn't like icy cold shards of shower that I know my house is capable of.

For the last week, I have spent as much time as I possibly could being away from my not-quite-on-fire-yet-but-close-enough-to-burn-you house.  I have gone to at least 2 movies.  Three, I think, but I can't remember what the 3rd one was, if I did. And I have spent enough money at the cafe (St Louis Bread Co. - aka Panera Bread - where I am typing this from) to actually buy another Air Conditioner.  (I imagine - I really don't know how much they cost.)

I know it is not close to the same, exactly - but it at least has given me some idea of what it would be like to be without a home. I mean - I don't have anywhere "to be". It is a strange feeling.  I have to try to think of someplace to go.  Normally, I not only have somewhere to be - I often have somewhere I have to be.  Like work, for example. I have to go to work, I have to go the store, I have to go home to do laundry, I have to go to dinner.... But for the last week it has been a struggle to think of places I am allowed to be.

I've been here - at the cafe - since I woke up the most recent time.  I woke up, took a real shower - like using soap and stuff - and got dressed and came here for breakfast.  I was actually too late to get breakfast - but it was my first meal of the day.  That was about 11:30.  It's now almost 4:30.  I have bought lunch as well.  I've been here for 5 hours.  I really feel like I have over stayed my welcome - even with the second meal.  No one has said anything and it's not like I'm getting any kinds of looks - dirty or otherwise - from the employees or anything.  It is just a nagging feeling I have.  The "I need to GO" feeling. But where? To a library?  They don't have free refills on soda at the library. To yet another movie so I can spend $30 to avoid the heat for 2 or 3 hours? To a mall? I don't really want to walk around for hours.

Plus, I really just want to go to sleep. Something I don't think I've done properly in days. Most places don't want you to sleep there. Even if you do buy two meals and two drinks.

I've contemplated sleeping in my car.  But then I realize cars are like solar-powered microwave ovens.  And if I were to leave it running so I could have the AC - the engine would overheat. Then I would be hot, tired, pseudo-homeless, and with a broken-down car.

So... yeah, no real insight to share - or punchline or anything. Just an odd feeling. You ever had to try to figure out places "to be"?  What did you come up with?

Add to any service

1 comment:

Christy Creel said...

If u want to drive six hours, you are welcome to come mooch off our air