I hate seeing both sides of a thing.

Air conditioning feels to me like more than a modern convenience. It’s the sort of thing that I expect every freestanding structure to have, and the lack of AC is to me as disconcerting as the lack of electricity must have seemed in the near-recent past, when ‘everyone’ had it but literally everyone didn’t yet have it.

AC is about more than cooling; it’s about your air being cleaned and circulated. Your air is, for lack of a better word, conditioned. It gives me a feeling of protection to know that a building is relatively air-tight and that the oxygen supply is being regulated. There’s a wild, untamed outside, where the insects and arthropods and germs and smoke and pollution and other anarchist elements can have their day, and there’s the nice, soothing, controlled inside where I can have my books and WiFi and TiVo and peace and quiet. It’s a wall.

A largely illusory and highly ineffective wall, to be sure. But it’s making a stand; drawing a line. Out there: chaos; in here: the homey disordered order that defines my comfort zone.

And of course in asserting all this, I know full well that I’m being silly. I sound like a science fiction cliché — one of Asimov’s bubble-dwellers who refuse to believe the world outside is even habitable, of perhaps someone out of Brave New World. And while I can recognize intellectually that I am — on this point at least, and possibly on many others — stark raving mad, that doesn’t in any way negate the underlying impulse. Knowing I’m crazy doesn’t make me sane, it just makes me annoyed at the insufferably buggy firmware with which God or evolution or the Engineers has saddled me.