20 May 2008

Thoughts on driving in Houston, Texas in the summer without any air-conditioning

Like my title? I used it because it sounds like something John Piper would title something. Of course, the rest of this won't sound like him, but you gotta start somewhere, right? :)

Okay, so here's the deal. Last month I spent over $400 on car repair and maintenance. So...when Red Velvet's (my 1992 Buick LeSabre) air-conditioning decided it didn't want to work a few weeks ago, I decided to ignore it. Actually, not so much ignore it as intentionally decided to look the other way. Thankfully, it has been an unseasonably cool spring for Houston and we've had lots of really nice weather the past couple weeks. The circulated outside air has proved quite sufficient most days. However, reality is that it's summer in Houston which means that today it is 94 degrees. Yes, that's Fahrenheit. And if you've never been here I can't explain the humidity, but let's just say when you step outside you feel like you've been submerged into a really big deep broiler. It's warm. It will get hotter of course, but let's just say for now it's not a wimpy kind of heat index. So, on my commute home this afternoon I began thinking of the essentials I've added into my routine to make the drive much more endurable. But before I get to that, let me just remind you that I drive about 35-60 minutes home on the I-10 Katy Freeway at 4:30 or 5:00 p.m. in the afternoon. Oh, and did I mention the bumper to bumper traffic? Or the construction?

My new essentials:
1. God's grace which comes to me in the following ways...
2. A good attitude which in itself is a gift and is greatly enriched by the following items...
3. Remembering that I have friends all over the world who drive around in cars with no AC and more than that walk everywhere and take buses stuffed with a hundred other people who consider deodorant a luxury item. Also, these many friends don't have AC in their apartments either.
4. Remembering that I have life a million times easier than most of the world's population...I have clean water, I have a safe place to sleep, I have food everyday, I am not sleeping outside for fear of earthquake aftershocks. And frankly, for some weird reason I feel like it's good for me learning to do without something that I usually consider a "have to have" to survive. I'm not entitled to air-conditioning and maybe it's healthy for me to suffer in this teeny weeny way.
5. Being thankful that I will not be spending eternity somewhere really hot.
6. Okay, enough of the philosophical essentials...first tactical item in my survival kit: my i-pod nano and accompanying earbuds. This is extremely important to maintain #2. Radio is insufficient because with windows down and traffic blaring by, I simply can't hear it. With earbuds in place, I can sometimes listen to an entire album creating a joyful if not worshipful experience.
7. A large cup of ice to hold in my lap. I owe Jerome for that handy tip - it makes a world of difference.
8. An insulated cup of cold water to sip and cool my insides.
9. Dressing in layers to work so that I can take one or two layers off before I head home.
10. A rubber band. Any kind will do. To put my hair in a ponytail of course.
11. Sunscreen. This is a newly implemented essential I added today because I noticed my left arm getting much browner and frecklier than my right arm. Plus, I don't want to suck it up driving around without AC because I know it won't kill me and then ending up with skin cancer. Definitely not worth that!

So, any of you living without AC? Any tips you want to share? Or maybe how you try to keep a good attitude with your personal irritations of life? BTW, don't get me wrong. Sometimes I have a better attitude about this, other times I'm grumbling and complaining the whole way like this morning as a matter of fact. Of course, perhaps that's why I realized this afternoon that this list really is crucial. God gives us grace. Sometimes we just need to use it.


Johnson Journal said...

Good one! Love it!

rindy said...

yep, very, very well said. and i'm glad you remember those of us who are melting on the busses with a 100 other people. :-) but even as i stand on those traveling sauna's I have to remember that I am SO BLESSED, too. my tip on surviving the heat...take a boat whenever possible. :-) this morning it saved my sanity. gecmis olsun, canim! optum!!

Anonymous said...

Didn't have AC in my car the year I was in seminary, and actually for the 3-4 years after I left and drove my cute little blue Nissan, but I lived in UT after the first year and it didn't seem as bad as TX...

Actually, didn't have a car to begin with b/c I'd come to seminary from the mission field, where public transportation was prolific and hello, even if there were chickens and a sundry of other critters, as well as 100+ of my closest friends on the bus w/me, it was transportation. NOT SO in DFW. I walked A LOT...Guess it made a car w/o AC seem not so bad initially.

I wore lots of skirts. I know, it's hard to believe. I don't know if you've ever even seen me in a skirt, but I did, I wore lots of them, and I kept a towel in the car to keep my legs from sweating and sticking to the seat. Sometimes I found that one window down created greater airflow than both, depended...

I love you, Friend and miss you tons. We really are blessed aren't we? Truly, exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine.