What a Heat Wave Taught Me About Gratitude

Several days ago the air conditioner broke in the house Drew and I are staying in. By Monday afternoon the combination of high temperatures and humidity made it feel like I was inhaling warm, bland soup instead of air. The combination of smog, a heat wave and being exposed to more outdoor allergens due to windows being left opened at night irritated my lungs and I broke into a long coughing fit after running to catch a bus.

To be honest I was not terribly patient or easygoing this week. Feeling hot and short of breath day after day wears on a person after a while. It’s embarrassing to admit this but before this week I’d never really thought about what it would be like to coast through a heat wave (much less an entire summer) without having home air conditioning even though the vast majority of the people on this planet do exactly this.

Today has been forecasted to be the hottest, most humid day of the week. We weren’t expecting the repair person to arrive until today but an unexpected cancellation yesterday lead to it being repaired sooner than expected.

That first breathe of cold air was delicious. Every so often I take a deep breathe and marvel at how much oxygen my lungs can hold. Before this week I took air conditioning for granted. I won’t be assuming it will always be around again in the near future. Every blast of cool air is a gift.


For what are you grateful for today? Have you recently realized you were taking anything for granted?

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0 Responses to What a Heat Wave Taught Me About Gratitude

  1. teresa

    Honestly, I have been thinking this same thing all week! It’s so unbearable! When I go out in the morning to go to work it feels as if i can’t catch my breath! Then I think of so many homeless people and elderly who are without AC!The city is providing ‘cooing stations’ for people without AC…but they also have to GET to them. Sleeping at night is just about impossible if you don’t have AC. It makes me stop and think. I am VERY thankful for AC!
    The other thing I’m grateful for is the land we own. It’s not a lot, and we have a small home, but we do have a large garden. That little plot of land makes a big dent in our food budget. While we do enjoy having a garden, the main reason we do it if for the actual money it saves us. When I go to a farmer’s market and see what people pay for fresh veggies (which incidentally taste far superior to anything in the grocery store) it makes me sort of sad for them! Seeds are not expensive. Gardening is hard work, but it’s also good exercise and the food you get is free of pesticides and FULL of flavor. All summer…I’m extremely grateful for a garden outside my back door! AND Lydia…I wish you lived close enough that I could share some with you!!

    • Yeah, I also think about the people with asthma or summer allergies. They must be miserable this week. 🙁

      I wish we lived closer, too. Ah, well. You’ll just have to think of me as you eat all of that delicious food!

  2. Aaron

    I recently realized I was taking college for granted. I was hanging out with some friends and I started to talk about all the bullshit I have to do for college (papers, reading, presentations, etc..). Then, one of my friends said “At least you’re in college. I’d wish I could have went right after high school.” I realized that I got a lot of help from my parents after high school, which helped me begin & make it through college. My friend had zero support from his parents.

  3. Anne

    We’re in that big heat wave right now – it was 91 last night at 10pm. Funny thing, though – when I was younger, even a teenager, no one had air conditioning in their house. It was way too expensive, even for those with quite good incomes. I guess we just expected to be hot, or sleep in the basement, or were really grateful for fans. But like you, I had my air conditioner break during a big storm, and it only took me a short time to realize how fortunate I am to have comfortable temps. Nice that we didn’t take it for granted. 

    • Interesting. My family didn’t have air conditioning when I was very young but we lived in Wyoming then and only had a few days each year that were above 85-ish Fahrenheit. I wonder when it became standard for the average family to have air conditioning?

      Another thought – is it easier to live through a heat wave if you’re _not_ accustomed to air conditioning?  Maybe having  nearly constant access to AC makes it a little more difficult for a body to re-adjust to not having it when the power goes out or the air conditioner breaks?

  4. Lorena

    I am definitely grateful that, here in the North West, we’re not having a heat wave. We are, actually, having a cool wave. 

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