Sunday, July 16, 2006

A bad breakup and a rebound

Yeah, I'm going for cheap sensationalism with that headline.

My NY sublet came with a window air conditioning unit that was last serviced by Fred Flinstone. Not only was it extremely old and very ineffective, the knob which performed the somewhat critical task of turning it on and off had gone missing in the decade when the Fonz first jumped over a shark (not the second time). This meant to turn on my air conditioner, I need to get out my handy wrench, calibrate it to just the right width, and then grasp this nubbin (for lack of a better word) to which the knob should be attached and twist it until the air comes on. I can never tell if I'm on "high cool" or "low cool", though "off" and "fan only" are pretty clear settings.

Last night, I came home at the senior citizen-like hour of 1am, and decided that it was warm enough that I should wrench the air on for a pleasant night's sleep. I calibrated, nubbin-grasped, and twisted. The air came rushing on. The nubbin snapped cleanly off the unit. What I was left with was no way to turn the level any more. The nubbin stump (which basically means 'nothing', since a nubbin already is a stump) was flush with the unit itself so unwrenchable. And unfortunately it's been left wrenched 'on' in the "fan only" position, which so inadequately cools my apartment that I consider the flapping wings of my pigeon-fan a better alternative for climate control.

Most of the rest of the night was spent swearing, sweating, and pricing new window units on the internet. I went to Home Depot today, found that air conditioners are on sale because who in their right mind waits until mid-July to buy one of these things. I line up a friend, whoI can only call Saint Air Conditioner because it was an ugly job and he was so nice about it, to come install it. And together we wrest the ugly fifty year old air conditoner whose filter has never been cleaned and the gunk coming off of it is disgusting out of the window and to the curb below, where no doubt the NY sanitation authorities will find it and fine me some ridiculous amount. We (well, he) install the new air conditioner.

Maybe this is just the rebound after a bad air conditioner, but I am head over heels in love with this thing. It has a remote. You can set it on a timer. You can tell it what temperature you want it to be, and it will try its best to get you there. You can put it in power save mode. And for the first time, I can actually feel some cooling effect all the way (six feet away) over at my desk.


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