Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Freeze Factor

Much has been said about the difference between France and the States when it comes to AC.

Air conditioning is absolutely everywhere in America. And I can't get used to it -- the nagging draught, the freezing temperatures, the dramatic change with outside. Whenever I go to the movies, I bundle up like an Eskimo in anticipation of a long, deep freeze session.

Americans think it's hilarious. They don't laugh as much when they get in my car, and almost inevitably choke to death as I open the windows instead of turning on the AC. They don't understand how one can live without it.

AC is not part of the French way of life -- though it's becoming more common in commercial buildings. Hence the mutual culture shock. Take this American couple, who bought an old stone house in Southern France, and wanted to install AC. The locals cried Impossible! in total disbelief. After all, the villageois have been living happily without it for centuries. The couple insisted that it was AC or suffocation. The workmen begrudgingly bowed, then made it a favorite subject of local gossip.

I still find life without AC more civilized -- though I have seething memories of working in Paris during the heat wave of 2003. 48ºC/120ºF in the office, in full French business attire. A melting experience that would have got me running for any AC system -- at reasonable temperatures, though.
photo Google Images


bobbo said...

Have to agree with you on the ac thing! New york is especially stricken with this! every residential street you pass you see an ac unit in every window just waiting to fall on you as the make that buzzing sound

LA Frog said...

Do you freeze, too?