People are like A/C and water: we miss ‘em when we don’t have ‘em

BY BOB WACHS, Columnist
Posted 8/11/21

The current spell of hot weather has convinced me of something: I am a weenie.

Simply put, without air conditioning I tend to lose — and quickly — my sweet and gentle nature.

Genteel people …

The News + Record is worth reading!

We’re all about Chatham County, and we welcome you to our site. You can view up to 1 stories each month, then registration is required.

Please sign in below if you have an account. If not, please register here to get an account and an additional 3 stories each month. It’s easy and takes just a minute.

Our staff works hard to bring good journalism, writing and story-telling to Chatham County. HELP US! You can get the News + Record mailed to you weekly by subscribing here.

Please log in to continue

Log in

People are like A/C and water: we miss ‘em when we don’t have ‘em

Thanks for reading Chatham County’s leading news source! Making high quality community journalism isn’t free — please consider supporting our journalism by subscribing to the News + Record today.

Unlimited Digital Access: $3.99/month

Print + Digital: $5.99/month


The current spell of hot weather has convinced me of something: I am a weenie.

Simply put, without air conditioning I tend to lose — and quickly — my sweet and gentle nature.

Genteel people “perspire,” I read somewhere.

Ladies “glisten,” I’ve been told.

I sweat.

Even thinking about work does that to me.

And not having air conditioning makes it all worse.

Fortunately, most places in my life today have such a creature comfort, although I’m keenly aware not everyone does. But the point of this is to note the great truth that until we have something, and then don’t have it, is when we miss it, like water when the well runs dry.

I’m fairly certain that if I did not have access to air conditioning, then I wouldn’t know the difference and I wouldn’t miss it. And the foundation for all that information and awareness rests with my parents.

Up to a certain age when I was but a mere boy we didn’t have A/C. We’d fling up the windows — fortunately, there were screens — and set a “box” fan in one of them on the end of the house and fire that thing up. Even the hot breezes that often were there weren’t all that unpleasant, only because I didn’t know better.

Plus, Mama had an old cast iron or some similarly-heavy metal fan that would turn from side to side as it fanned the breeze. It might have weighed a ton but it moved some air. It was one of those what you call “oscillating” fans, but I couldn’t spell that or come close to pronouncing it then — so we just called it “the fan.”

If you were lucky enough to find yourself caught between those two fans, you had all you needed.

At a certain point, however — and I don’t know for sure when that was because when you’re eight years old you usually don’t get a vote in family decisions — my folks decided they’d had enough.

I still remember the day the A/C came to live with us. Big as a truck, it was, and sitting in a front window ... but, boy, was it cool.

In more ways than one.

With it in place I didn’t mind doing my math homework because I could sit at the table in front of the A/C. My grades didn’t necessarily improve because of it; it was just that I didn’t mind doing the homework.

Moving along through the years has only reinforced the deep appreciation I have for A/C, learned at my mother’s knee. And when A/C became standard equipment on vehicles instead of a top-of-the-line option, I was really hooked. I made the mistake once in my uninformed youth of buying a car without it and the “460” model A/C — four windows rolled down at 60 miles per hour — upset everyone’s hair.

So I’m hopelessly a weenie if I’m without the A/C because I now do know the difference.

And that same thought came to mind as I was plowing through a pile of “stuff” in my study trying to decide if it really was a good idea to keep out-of-date coupons, 2-year old newspapers and an empty Coke can.

Stuck in with all that stuff and more was a paper pad with some names on it — names of folks that I planned to see in some long-ago week before the week when I made the list was over.

I’m not sure when that list came to be but of the 12 people on it, a grand total of five are still with us.

Seeing the names of the other seven made me miss them all over again — because I’d known life with them.

So here’s the deal: don’t put too big of a demand on your well, keep the A/C in good shape and if you’ve got a list of folks you want to see — written on paper or on your brain — go see them. It’ll be worth the effort, even if the effort makes you hot and you perspire or glisten or sweat, even.

Trust me on this one.

Bob Wachs is a native of Chatham County and retired long-time managing editor of the Chatham News/Chatham Record, having written a weekly column for more than 30 years. During most of his time with the newspapers, he was also a bi-vocational pastor and today serves Bear Creek Baptist Church for the second time as pastor.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here