Thanks to online shopping, I rarely head into bookstores, but today I needed to buy a gift in a hurry and so I ventured into one - the place was empty and I found what I needed quickly and then browsed a bit. While the temperature outside was only about 73 degrees, the day was humid and the store felt very warm to me. We don’t have central air in the house, just ceiling fans, and they pretty much do the trick, but when I’m shopping, I like to feel cool and comfortable, not oppressed. With no air moving, the store seemed unbearably stuffy, so I said the hell with further shopping and headed to the checkout.
At the checkout counter I found the rest of the shoppers - there were 8-10 of us in all, diverse in age, gender, race, and I’m sure in other ways, and every one of us was trying to get outside and catch a breeze, so some were becoming impatient. While waiting I tied my hair back with a scrunchy and a woman behind me said, “good idea,” and tied hers back, too…no kidding, it was warm.
When I reached the checkout, I asked the cashier if the a/c was broken. “No,” she informed me. “We keep the a/c temperature up because of global warming. Doing our part to save the planet!”
A male voice groused, rather loudly, “Well, that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard! If you’re running an a/c but still not cooling the building then you’re wasting energy. Either turn it off all together, or turn the temperature down, but don’t run a huge unit without without cooling the building down; that’s like running a car engine in a driveway. This is typical Al Gore liberal nonsense, make everyone suffer the same while they feel noble because they care so much about the environment!”
The other warm woman behind me piped up, “this is freakin’ ridiculous. If I have to come here to sweat, I’ll just stay home and order somethin’ online! I don’t need to be here sweating for the privilege of givin’ you my money!”
The girl behind the counter said, “in third world countries, people don’t have air conditioning!”“America is not a third-world country!” A new voice bellowed. “Not yet, anyway, but if Gore and his rock star friends get their way his way, we will be! Hot stores, sweating! Not them, just us! We’re the ones made uncomfortable! Tell your manager to buy a freaking carbon offset and turn on the a/c!”
America will be a third-world country by next year if Bush has his way and keeps the Mexican border opened,” someone else said.
I collected my change and headed out, in no mood for a hot-angry mob scene. The last thing I heard was the cashier muttering, “Bush - moron!” and the woman saying, “screw this, I don’t need this book, I’m leavin’, and I’ll tell you somethin’ else - George Bush keeps you safe, and he isn’t telling us to sweat without air conditionin’, either!”
Gonna be a long, hot summer, and global warming may indeed have something to do with it…but not as you might think.