So, as I’ve said before, Germans like to suffer. I’m not sure, actually, if they like to suffer or if it’s just a side effect of eschewing all convenience and comfort. Today, my example is air conditioning and/or screens. Choose one or the other. Choose both. But what is the deal with neither?
Last weekend was the Official “Remember How Miserable German Summers Are” day here in Krautland. The temp in our area was near 100°F (37°C) with an 80% humidity rate. So as summers are hot, one would think air conditioning would be a popular addition to homes and any sort of new development. But no, it’s not. Germans tend to think the drastic temperature differences caused by A/C units cause random and unnamed circulatory problems. I think this is some how related to the homeopathic tendencies of the typical Kraut.
In the Bay Area, summers are hot and dry. I always heard that there is a difference between dry heat and moist heat and I never really made the connection. Well, nature is giving me an education. Here, my fingers get sticky with heat and I’m still wet after drying off after a shower. In the Bay Area, I took the fantastic Tuscan type weather for granted. Just like all offices, stores, cars and most homes having A/C. Wasn’t it just a given? And I might have gotten a summer cold occasionally, but I was way more productive with A/C and a cold than healthy without A/C.
Okay, fine. A/C is out. Next solution: Open the windows. This is where one would think screens would be status quo. Again, no. Germans don’t seem to have a problem with the co-habitation of flies, mosquitoes, moths, bees and other flying wildlife.
I do. I have a big problem with a life without screens. When I bring this up in conversation, people are stunned, frankly, that this is even a subject worthy of conversation. Then again, I’m an American used to polluting the environment for my comfort and convenience. And it’s true; I don’t like going to sleep listening to the kamikaze buzzing of the bug du jour. I hate waking up in the morning looking like the buffet table at mosquito convention.
So in order to matriculate in this primitive culture, I’ve been observing the Hausfraus in our Hof. I keenly observed that doors and windows are opened early in the morning while the air is still cool from the night before. This seems to create the wind tunnel through the house, cooling the stone and replacing all the stagnant air.
This morning I followed suit. It became so cold in the house, Markus put on socks. Cleo, the lazy cat, found a blanket to curl up on. Yesterday she was sprawled across the marble in the bathroom looking like she had been shot. So this was an improvement. The house was cool. Phew. I found the answer. I couldn’t figure out why I had never been told about this trick. It’s so easy.
Then it got later and it was actually cold in the house. I considered putting on sweats. I looked outside and all the windows and doors that had been open were now closed. Maybe it was to hold in the cold air. Tomorrow, I thought, I’ll have to watch more carefully and figure out how long to leave to doors open for maximum cool effect without the cold effect. Wow, life without A/C could be cool.
Then it hit me. It was cold inside because it was cold outside. The temp dropped to about 60°F outside and with all the doors and windows open, it was cold inside. I had discovered the homeopathic remedy to a warm house, cold weather.
I’m back to square one. Wasn’t an American who said, “Give me A/C, or give me death!”?