Saturday, June 28, 2008

Local Warming

We never had A/C when I was a kid … neither in Connecticut, nor when we moved to New Jersey. We had an “open the front screen door, open the back screen door, open all the windows, and hope for the best” summer cooling policy. There was one window fan we brought South with us; along with its air circulation responsibilities, it also served as a “how far will you put you finger through the hole in the screen?” benchmark.

Put your stuff away, make your bed first thing in the morning, keep the dishes out of the sink, and clean the countertops, Mom said, and we’d have comfortable summer.

She added an important corollary: “A tidy house is a cool house”

Sure, that makes sense. Who needs a lot of clutter when you’re hanging out with your friends? We should keep everything [snacks, sodas and juices] available and within easy reach.

Then, Mom took it a step further, to explain the thermodynamics behind keeping a clean house.

“Heat” she explained, “Is reflective. It bounces off flat surfaces. This is okay, when you have one big flat surface, like at the beach, bang zoom, it comes down from the sun and bounces away. But, when you have GI Joes and Hot Wheels and model airplane parts and books and stuff all lying around, that is quite a collection of tiny flat surfaces, and the Heat can bing and bang around all day, warming up the whole house.”

Substitute the word “heat” for “radar” and it sounds like my Mom discovered the nugget behind Stealth technology, i.e., y’all should minimize reflective surfaces.

However, the drive to put things away, as tidily as possible; referencing and cross-referencing (on note cards or just committing to memory), must certainly been a factor to my OCD.

That’s partly sensible

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My house at the moment is so far from tidy it's not funny. It is, however, hot because I'm cold and it's winter and I've got the reverse cycle air conditioner on to warm. I just don't do cold well, I enjoy heat so much more. Your mum would have a fit!!