According to the New York Times, Stan and Priti Cox, of Salina, Kansas, are very happy living without air conditioning. Apparently the Coxes haven’t turned on their air conditioners since 1977. The article in the Times refers to Mr. Cox as an agricultural scientist who is concerned with the effects that air conditioners have on global warming.
I applaud the Coxes. I worry about global warming. But as a menopausal and slightly grumpy person, it is obvious to me that the Coxes are either saints, secretly living with friends with AC, or lying. I read the article about them twice. They offer some tips for living in the heat, such as using fans, wearing little, and sitting very, very still.
My husband and I had a long discussion about the Coxes. My husband, who professes a lifelong love for things tropical, has always advocated “sitting still” when things heat up. For me, “sitting still” is boring, ridiculously ineffective in stopping perspiration, and counterproductive. But my husband argues that if you stay very quiet, the heat becomes bearable.
So what do people like the Coxes do while being “still?” Do they have interesting discussions? Do they plan their menus for the coming week? Do they watch TV? Do their shirts stick to their backs? Or are they wearing their underwear? I asked my husband what he would recommend as activities for people who want to turn off their central air in order to save the planet.
“Well, they could read books.”
“Not everybody enjoys reading. And after awhile, reading can get boring.”
“Well, then, they could do Sudokus or something.”
“Ok. You are telling me that Sudoku and reading are what people all over the United States should do when it’s hot? So President Obama, policemen, doctors, and everybody else that gets things accomplished in the world should just read and solve Sodoku puzzles?”
“Well, people doing Sudoku don’t start wars and things.”
“Oh, so now you are telling me that if we all turned off our AC units, that we would have world peace?”
“It’s possible. And I might try my hand at creating some Sudoku puzzles, myself.”
That gave me pause. The Coxes just might be the harbingers of a new world order. If global warming continues, it might lead to a time in which we all wear very little, do even less, and enjoy a life of reading and puzzle solving, in a gentle and pacific environment.