In Florida, air conditioning is not merely a need, a necessity and a daily expectation.
It is a birthright. It is as much a part of the normal routine as left-lane slow drivers and seasonal out-of-towners in socks and sandals.
And at the moment, the A/C in my office building is broken, yet again. In other words, it’s slightly cooler outside in mid-August than it is inside. I’ve been here just over two hours, and I’m on my third thirty-two ouncer of ice water. And did I mention that our restrooms are being renovated and therefore out of commission, necessitating a trip to another floor for relief?
All this could be amusing, if it wasn’t a repeat performance. It could be forgiven if the building manager was actually someone who could manage a building; she’s an accountant by training who thought managing an office building was something fun that she could do on the side for extra money. So far, the only extra money she’s seen is the money that’s gone out to pay for repairs and lawsuits. Note to all you wanna-be landlords and property managers who think how cool it would be to work in this field: don’t, unless you plan to be good at it and full-time when you do it.
I know there are worse places to be living and/or working. Plenty of places in this country not only lack air conditioning, but reliable plumbing, heating and electrical systems, to say nothing of basic food and medical care. We respond to national and international disasters regularly with open hearts and generous wallets, but we often miss the daily long-term suffering near us. Perhaps because it tends to be quieter. Instead of the roar of a tsunami, or the grind and crash of an earthquake, people who do without the basics every day seem to do so with less noise; not because they are happy and peaceful, but perhaps because the situation leaves them resigned and hopeless.
I like giving to charity, and I prefer it to be as local as possible. Don’t get me wrong; I feel for people who lose everything to earthquakes, tornadoes, civil war and other disasters that don’t impact me personally. But when I want to see my money translate to improvements first-hand, it goes to the folks who take care of my fellow locals. And speaking of care, the A/C is finally back on. Now, on to more charitable thoughts. Like putting some money into the local economy with a lunch out tomorrow.