Just over one year ago, I wrote an op-ed with the headline “Fuck Your Air Conditioner, Ceiling Fans Forever.” Yesterday, as temperatures in New York began creeping into the 90s, I bought a window A.C. unit. Yes, America, it finally happened: I was wrong.
In my original piece, which—for the record—was rude and reckless, I wrote:
Air conditioners are hurting us more than they’re helping us. Air conditioners are making us weak. “I think my AC is making me sick,” a Gawker Media co-worker recently texted me. And he’s right. It is making him sick. Sick in the head.
Well, if it’s a sickness, put me in the hospital because I’ve caught A.C. fever, baby. This plague is all the rage and Maddie Mama loves it.
Originally, I posited that air conditioning is used too much and always set too cold, adding that ceiling fans are just as good if not better at cooling a room. The first half of the sentiment remains true, the second does not. All my best to ceiling fans which work great 10 months out of the year, but here in the now, they—like this apology—are not enough.
Tonight, I will go home from the office and install my new window unit. As I do it, working up a sweat and cursing, I will think of everyone I hurt with my words. I will think of the heat rash I got on my neck from my own hair last summer and all the sleepless nights that I spent tossing and turning in my own sweat-drenched sheets, all to make a point. I will think of the children who are not fortunate enough to have air conditioning and as the first cold blast of air hits me in the face, I will whisper I’m sorry.