Monday, April 11, 2011

Interview with an Air Conditioner

Starting in the mid 1960s, I spent a couple of decades as an ambitious computer programmer and manager, in Minneapolis and Los Angeles. Married for 5 years, then divorced. In my 40s, I was burned out. I quit the full-time corporate grind and became a programmer for hire (hourly rates, short-term contracts). I also left the big city for a less stressful life in the boondocks.

After living in the Arizona desert for 6 years, I moved to the Ozark Mountains of northern Arkansas, where I became even more reclusive. With no computer programming jobs available in Redneck Heaven, I managed to get a part-time job teaching computer courses at a local college (2001-2006) and writing a column for a weekly newspaper (2001-2007).

When I started at the newspaper, it was understood that I was to be part-time (about 15 hours per week), working primarily on putting the paper together on the computer. But various levels of management had other ideas about my duties whereupon it soon became apparent that I would either have to become embroiled in office politics or leave.

I had been with the paper for only two weeks, pondering my next move, when I asked the editor-in-chief on Friday afternoon if I could write an article for the paper. She was a crusty old newspaper warhorse and gruffly told me to go have an interview with an air conditioner.

It was early spring. Obviously, she wanted me to write a piece about how everyone should do some maintenance on their air conditioner prior to seasonal usage. But being the smartass rebel I am, I took a different approach.

That weekend, I cranked out the short piece below and turned it in to the editor on Monday morning. From that day on I wrote a weekly column for the paper for 7 years straight, never missing an issue, until we got new management with a "my way or the highway" attitude -- I took the highway.


One of the news editors suggested I interview an air conditioner. After all, summer was right around the corner and it was assumed readers would want to know the general feelings of their outdoor cooling equipment.

I had always been under the impression appliances were incapable of speech but I could be wrong. Rather than question the wisdom of the editor, I decided to go along with it.

So I sat on my deck the following Saturday afternoon, gazing at my air conditioner, trying to figure out a way to communicate with it.

Finally, I walked right up to it and introduced myself.

I wasn’t too surprised at the silence that followed. Then I felt a little embarrassed. After all I had lived there for two years. Surely it knew who I was by now.

“So how’s it going?” I said, as if I was expecting an answer.

Again, the air conditioner didn’t respond.

However, my dog wandered over for a closer look. She seemed a bit perplexed that I would be talking to the big green box sitting on a slab of concrete next to our abode.

“Ya ready for another summer?” I asked the big green box.

Again no response.

I wanted to ask it if it had a name but was certain I wouldn’t get an answer. For some strange reason, I wanted to call it Frosty. Then I noticed it already had a name engraved on its side that read Intertherm; a proper name for a hunk of cooling equipment.

I wondered if Intertherm was looking forward to summer and being in use on a daily basis.

Suddenly, my dog tilted her head to the right, as if the big green box had communicated with her.

I quickly realized Intertherm was indeed looking forward to heavy usage, after all that’s what machines do. They delight in running smoothing and helping those who created them.

Without uttering another word, I thanked the air conditioner for its fine service and assured it, in my mind, that I would take proper care of it.

My dog gave me an understanding look, then ran off to regain her sanity by chasing a squirrel.

I have no idea if I actually communicated with my air conditioner but it could’ve been possible. If nothing else, it left me in a good mood. Intertherm seemed to be in a good mood too. I even caught a glimpse of a smile as I walked away.

I spent the rest of the afternoon talking to my toaster, mostly about sports.

So now that summer is around the corner, have a chat with your air conditioner. But don’t call it Frosty.

Quote for the Day -- "A newspaper is a device for making the ignorant more ignorant and the crazy crazier." H.L. Mencken

Bret Burquest recently published THE REALITY OF THE ILLUSION OF REALITY (available on Amazon) -- topics include collective consciousness, UFOs, parallel dimensions, Edgar Cayce, Atlantis, St. Germain, Carl Jung, Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, End of Days, the White Buffalo, Jesse James, Noah's Ark, JFK and MLK assassinations, Dead Sea Scrolls, Illuminati, New World Order, Bilderbergers, Hitler after WW II, reincarnation, Near Death Experience, Mayan calendar 2012, much more.

1 comment:

Trey Hopson said...

Pretty cool interview with your air conditioner, huh! Even without a single word, we can still know and feel how AC's give us satisfaction during summer. Hhhhmmm.. Have you tried interviewing the furnace? =)