I had lived in the Maryland suburb of Washington, DC since I was ten. DC is a city built on top of a swamp. It’s not so much about the heat; it’s about the moisture. It’s overwhelming.

When I went to college in Boston, it got hot up there, but it was mild compared to DC when the humidity was right. My sister also went to Tulane, and my father lived in Slidell, Louisiana during that time. Talk about moisture. Summertime is oppressive.

I had a college friend who grew up in Fairfield, CT. When I visited her during the summer between our first and second summers, she emphasized that she had air conditioning in her room. She was the only one with a unit in her room. I didn’t really understand why this was such a big deal until I left. The truth is, the heat wasn’t that big a deal.

She came to see me and we had central air. She couldn’t get over it. It was so new. She went outside several times and came in several times to experience the hot to the cold. She was dizzy.

That summer I was working at Neiman-Marcus. I had to dress up every day. I would end the day, go to my car, turn on the car and turn on the A / C, stand in front of the car and wait 5-7 minutes depending on the heat of the day and then get in a cool car to drive back home. It was an epic experience, but I’ll save that for another day.

We have been spending our summers on the eastern end of Long Island since 1999. The heat and humidity have increased in recent years. It’s the humidity that has really changed. It is this stickiness that sucks that energy out of your body.

The climate has changed over the past forty decades. Look to Seattle, where only 30% of the people live with air conditioning. Few apartments in Paris are air-conditioned. Since I grew up in DC, I would never think of building or even buying a house without central air and of course central heating. Housing construction will change in both places and air conditioning will pollute the environment.

Today we woke up with the air so wet that we closed every window. How do we roll this back? I always look to the private sector and all the fascinating start-ups that are working on the problem. Something has to change, or I’m afraid how the planet will feel in the next forty decades.

It’s So Damn Hot first appeared on Gotham Gal.

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