I received a text from my daughter around last night. “Minus the humidity, I feel like I might have an appreciation for your childhood without AC,” she wrote.
Perhaps you are unaware that Oregon has been under an extreme heat advisory?
Typically, I, a former Georgia girl, might scoff at the notion of an extreme heat advisory in Oregon as anything over 74 degrees. I’ve always felt that if Oregonians lived under the extreme conditions most Southerners do, they, too, might take to calling on the name of Jesus with more regularity. But what can you expect from a people who have grown up in a land void of cockroaches, water moccasins, brush harbor meetings replete with hellfire preachers and Holy Ghost rattlers? Not to mention, Lester Maddox, Roy Barnes and Sonny Perdue.
Bless their tender little hearts, Oregonians have never even walked barefoot on hot asphalt, never stepped in a bed of fire ants, never spent a sleepless night itching from poison sumac, never even had to cover chigger bites with their mama’s nail polish. So you can see how easy it would be for them to think of 85 degree weather as “extreme.”
Only thing is, it really has been hot as hades here. Temps have been in the 100-plus range. All week.
“But it’s a dry heat,” my Yankee husband always insists.
“Who cares if hell is dry or humid?” I retort. “Hell is hell.”
I’ve spent the bulk of the week indoors, where thank the good Lord and the local power company and the husband who pays the bill, I have central AC.
Go out to dinner with a group of Oregonians and only ten percent of them will confess to having Central AC. It’s a sin to have AC, so if they have it, most of ’em will never admit to it for fear of being shunned.
I used to make fun of Oregonians for their tree-hugging ways. Now I just want to hug their necks and confess to them how wrong I was about everything. How I took for granted the clean roadsides, the clear waters, the temperate climate, the abundant fish, the towering snow-capped mountains and rolling Mighty Columbia.
My mama, the one who was the cause of me moving to Oregon to begin with, refused to spend any time here after Oregonians passed a ban on smoking in public places. Mama was outraged that any citizen thought they could tell her where she could smoke and where she couldn’t. She threw an absolute hissy fit when I relegated her smoking to the porch or backyard. The thought of a daughter telling her she couldn’t smoke in the house. Well! Lawsy! Imagine! She declared me a full-blown pinko-commie liberal when she discovered I’d been attending an Episcopal Church one summer while away on a writing gig.
I confess, it’s true. This Georgia-raised gal believes in Global warming. Not only believes in it, but worries more about a scorched earth than an eternal damnation. Perhaps they are one in the same?
In true Oregon fashion, my daughter’s house doesn’t have AC. It was hot as the dickens at midnight when she sent me that text.
“I’m sorry,” I texted her back. Because once you’ve spent a summer in a metal tube of a trailer in Dublin, Georgia without AC, you never forget the horror of that.
“I’ll survive,” she replied.
Lord, I hope so. I hope we all survive the coming calamity of the climate deniers. I’d like to lock every single last one of them inside a refrigerated trailer with no refrigeration and park that trailer in the Mojave. I might even toss in some chiggers for good measure.
Karen Spears Zacharias is a Georgia-convert to Environmental Concerns. She is author of the forthcoming CHRISTIAN BEND: A novel (Mercer University Press).