While on our daily jaunt around the neighborhood, and since Shadow is the only living creature within earshot, I ask my dog, "where have all the people gone?" Of course, I don't expect her to answer in words but a mediocre woof would suffice. In truth I do know where they are, in the house with doors shut and windows shuttered. After all, it's 87 degrees, and in our neck of the woods, 87 degrees means stifling heat and oppressive humidity. We could walk for miles and never see anyone on the porch, in the yard, or hanging out the kitchen window. Being Sunday, the hope of catching a glimpse of the postman or water meter reader is nonexistent.
I began thinking about the demonic "jailer" who has imprisoned all of us from human interaction during the summer months. WHOLE HOUSE AIR-CONDITIONING! Why should anybody step foot outside under such horrid conditions when they are comfortably locked away in the coolness of their homes? Such a thought is simply ludicrous!
But maybe I can offer a few suggestions as to why venturing out-of-doors on a hot and humid summer day might be beneficial. Perhaps while sitting on the front porch, a woman and her dog pass by. She smiles and stops to talk. Whether the brief conversation is merely prattle or of substance is not important. What matters is that both of you have been released from the lonely isolation air-conditioning has imposed. Who knows, next time you might invite her to come sit awhile and over time become life-long friends.
What if you decided to escape the confines of the constant 72 degrees utopia that air-conditioning has shackled you to and step out into the backyard? You could bravely plant a small garden of peas, peppers, pumpkins, and any other veggie that begins with the letter "p." Since watering is necessary for the growth of the "p" plants, you would have incentive to leave your prison for an hour each day. And, just maybe, your neighbor whom you haven't seen or talked with in months is courageous enough to do the same! The two of you could talk about the progress your respective gardens are making, the techniques each of you are using to grow bigger and more productive plants, and how sharing your harvests would provide your families with more variety on their dinner plates. This seemingly innocent venture could eventually lead to a farmers market right in your very own backyards.
And lastly, if the fear of leaving your air-conditioned paradise simply paralyzes you, perhaps you can muster enough gumption to open a window. At first maybe you can only do an inch or two, but with practice you will be able to raise it to full capacity. Now you might stick your head out and playfully cheer on the kids next door who are attempting to beat the heat with a one-on-one basketball game. They seem to be having a blast. On the other hand, you, not so much. So, be damned with that air-conditioning controller, you whip on a pair of shorts and a tank, tie up your Nikes, open the locked front door, and join in the fun. After making three hoops, the thought of being hot doesn't even phase you. Besides sweating cleanses the body of harmful toxins leaving you feeling and looking better than you have in years.
Trying these simple suggestions could have amazing results. You will no longer have that jailhouse pallor, and the whole house air-conditioning that enslaved you for years, will no longer have you in a death grip. You will finally be free! So go out and enjoy the sun! Shadow and I can't wait to meet up with you and shoot the bull if only for a minute or two.