Here's the Scoop: August 8, 2012

Cool Catskills Air
This is something that I never saw coming. I’m addicted to air conditioning.
Maybe addicted isn’t the right word, but I’ve become quite fond of artificial cooling. I’m not going to get into a debate over climate change in this space. However, I don’t think there’s any denying that the weather around these parts ain’t what it used to be.

The simple fact is, the weather isn’t strictly warmer or cooler. For the most part, it’s just different. Mostly hotter, I must add.

I remember 25 years ago (sort of) when air conditioning (AC) in the Catskill Mountains was as rare as a unicorn sighting. News reports of unicorns remain scarce, but AC is as common as cigarette smokers huddled at a mall entrance.

Reaching back an even greater distance in the memory machine, I recall when our family got its first car with air conditioning. It was really cool — well, in theory anyway. With the exception of an annual trip to the beach, we never used it.

Car manufacturers probably picked up on the trend earlier than most folks. I can envision the executives in a board meeting: “So, we’re in agreement that more vehicles will equal more emissions and, thus, speed up atmospheric warming. Now, we can boost our profits by making sure that everyone keeps cool by including profitable AC units in virtually every car and truck. Plus, these devices will contribute to atmopheric harm and they provide one more piece of equipment that will break down and need repair. Perfect!”

Sales pitch
Skeptics might say that the car folks were motivated by greed, rather than strictly providing comfort, but I’ve been sold. In recent years, it seems that from April through October, I use the AC on an almost daily basis.

My personal office is situated on the second floor of an older building. The exposure is sunny and bright. And warm.

The building is insulated, but the sun’s rays are intense. I spent my first few years in the office trying to convince myself that “there are only a few really hot days each summer” and AC wouldn’t be needed.

One extended heat wave a few years back convinced me that my wishful thinking was flawed and that me sweating like a pig when greeting clients was not a terribly appealing sight.

Couldn’t stand it
So, I broke down and brought a traditional window AC unit and it does the trick. Ironically, while I am no longer covered in perspiration when meeting with folks, I often can’t hear them because the unit is louder than advertised!

For a number of years at the News office, we had a high-end, quiet AC system that was nice at the outset, but soon began showing some shortcomings. Even during those short periods when the unit was “between repair work,” there were problems with the system. More often than not, the unit really didn’t keep things very cool. That’s a drawback for an AC unit.

We recently had a replacement system installed and it works really well and keeps temperatures at whatever level is desired. Sometimes, I must admit, it gets a bit too chilly in the office — and not just when readers come in complaining about a story. Thankfully, a quick trip outdoors provides the 88-degree warmth to remind me that, like the humidity — it’s all relative.
— Brian Sweeney