Saturday, June 15, 2013

Beat the Heat, Once and For All

                Well, it’s a hundred degrees again. And for all our complaining, does it ever lower the temperature?  News flash: This is Sacramento. You will spend a fortune one of two ways: On air conditioning, or on ice cream because you will spend too much time on the frozen foods aisle.

                Unless, and I say unless the way Paul Popeil says it when hawking the Chop-o-Matic, you try my handy-dandy solution to summertime heat in the state’s capitol.  If you live somewhere else where it gets ridiculously hot, this will work for you as well.

                I have a radical suggestion.  It came to me a few years ago when I slept overnight at the Sacramento Zoo with my daughter’s second grade class (a lot of things will come to you at the zoo, but this happened to be a great idea).  To read my blog about that insane experience, click on
But back to the zoo.  It was the middle of the night, and a noisier location cannot be imagined.  The flamingoes were squawking at a decibel level you wouldn’t allow in your teenager’s bedroom.  The lions were roaring like freight trains.  It was maddening, and so it launched a crazy idea.
                If the animals at the zoo are mostly nocturnal (which is why they loll around like zombies when you visit in the day), why don’t we try that every summer?  You make it official, like Daylight Savings Time, and you have a big kickoff, say June 15th.  Call it “Nocturne.” All businesses and organizations agree to flip-flop their operating hours until September 15, giving us three months of delightfully cool nighttime temperatures to enjoy as we work, chase around town, and pursue outdoor activities.  Then, when the scorching heat hits in the morning, we go to sleep.  Maybe keep a light fan whirring.  Hey, they have three months of darkness in Scandinavia and they still manage fine.

                Can you even begin to calculate the energy savings if we don’t run air conditioners at full blast for three months?  Imagine getting into your car and being able to touch the steering wheel without blistering your fingers.  You could putter comfortably in the garden with just a flashlight. Your kids could learn the constellations.  Sunscreen would be a greasy thing of the past-- something folks do in other cities, who haven’t caught onto reality yet.
                Nobody would get heat stroke or dehydration, plastic water bottles wouldn’t dominate our landfills, sweat-drenched clothes wouldn’t have to be dry cleaned, and women such as myself, wouldn’t constantly wonder if it’s really hot or if it’s just them.
                We’d all eat better.  No one would say, “It’s just too hot to cook,” and we’d be whipping up hearty stews and comfort foods.
                The crime rate would fall, as burglars would be put out of business-- how can you sneak around in a cloak of blackness, when everyone else is up and can see you?

                Best of all, we’d be happy and energetic.  Irritability and sluggishness would vanish.  Productivity in the workplace would rise.  Classroom temperatures would promote learning.  Patience with pre-schoolers would triple.  Marital romance would skyrocket.  We’d be the smartest city in the USA!
                Or, we can act surprised every summer when the temperatures rise so high you wonder if the propane is safe in your barbecue. I suppose we could continue to live like lizards with sweat glands.
                But I say we finally learn from the zoo animals, and outsmart our climate.

                Or is it just me?

1 comment:

  1. I salute your splendid ways to outsmart the climate. It's however, uncomfortable to sleep in the middle of the summer without a functioning AC. I suggest we'll just have to utilize those energy-efficient HVAC systems and properly insulated houses to cut back on electric bills. :)

    Jaye Conaway @