Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Open Windows

The cool weather that arrived yesterday gave us the opportunity to open the windows and let fresh air back in the house. It also marks the first sign of fall and the end to our summer heat. A few months ago, I entered the summer driving an older, paid-for, mini-van with no air conditioning.

Our independent mechanic quoted us a $1,000 price to repair the A/C. Rather than sink that kind of money into a vehicle barely worth the cost of repair, I decided to try the summer with no air conditioning. There were a few times when it was real hot. But overall, it wasn't too bad.

A car driving in hot weather with open windows is a sure sign of a vehicle with no air conditioning. When it was hot, I'd look around in trafffic to see how many other cars had their windows open, us drivers suffering the heat together. There were always a few, and sometimes, depending on where I was driving, there would be alot more.

So next year, if the van is still rolling, I'll go again without air conditioning. On the other hand, driving without a heater in the winter, that's a different story. I remember a bizarre incident from about 20 years ago. It happened at a convenience store located on a frontage road to Highway 70 in St. Charles County.

It was nightime and I was driving from St. Louis to Kansas City during a snow storm. I pulled in to the quick shop for a cup of hot coffee. While paying the cashier, a man rushed into the store, covered in snow, wearing goggles and a ski hat. How could he possibly be so snow covered? Was he riding a motorcycle? I stepped outside, and the answer to my question was immediately obvious.

He was driving a car with no windshield. Now, seeing someone drive a car without a windshield is odd enough, but for someone to be driving through a snow storm with no windshield is, well, let's just say we have a word for that type of behaviour in the St. Louis area, and we're not talking about basketball players from Indiana...

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