Saturday, August 14, 2010


According to the New York Times, Stan and Priti Cox, of Salina, Kansas, are very happy living without air conditioning. Apparently the Coxes haven’t turned on their air conditioners since 1977. The article in the Times refers to Mr. Cox as an agricultural scientist who is concerned with the effects that air conditioners have on global warming.

I applaud the Coxes. I worry about global warming. But as a menopausal and slightly grumpy person, it is obvious to me that the Coxes are either saints, secretly living with friends with AC, or lying. I read the article about them twice. They offer some tips for living in the heat, such as using fans, wearing little, and sitting very, very still.

My husband and I had a long discussion about the Coxes. My husband, who professes a lifelong love for things tropical, has always advocated “sitting still” when things heat up. For me, “sitting still” is boring, ridiculously ineffective in stopping perspiration, and counterproductive. But my husband argues that if you stay very quiet, the heat becomes bearable.

So what do people like the Coxes do while being “still?” Do they have interesting discussions? Do they plan their menus for the coming week? Do they watch TV? Do their shirts stick to their backs? Or are they wearing their underwear? I asked my husband what he would recommend as activities for people who want to turn off their central air in order to save the planet.

“Well, they could read books.”

“Not everybody enjoys reading. And after awhile, reading can get boring.”

“Well, then, they could do Sudokus or something.”

“Ok. You are telling me that Sudoku and reading are what people all over the United States should do when it’s hot? So President Obama, policemen, doctors, and everybody else that gets things accomplished in the world should just read and solve Sodoku puzzles?”

“Well, people doing Sudoku don’t start wars and things.”

“Oh, so now you are telling me that if we all turned off our AC units, that we would have world peace?”

“It’s possible. And I might try my hand at creating some Sudoku puzzles, myself.”

That gave me pause. The Coxes just might be the harbingers of a new world order. If global warming continues, it might lead to a time in which we all wear very little, do even less, and enjoy a life of reading and puzzle solving, in a gentle and pacific environment.



  1. As a big fan of doing nothing and moving less, I can tell you it is still possible to sweat like a pig. Even with the AC on. Tell the accordion man I said so. ;)

    Good point about winter - what did it say the Coxes did for THAT?

  2. IT DIDN'T. But they probably use solar heat, or some such other earth saving technology! molly

  3. The Coxes are simply too weird for me. Ah, but to each his own. Me? I'll take AC.

  4. After the most disgustingly vile summer heat/humidity Washington, DC has seen in many years, I can't imagine not having had the A/C to help.

    If I had to sit very still all day, wear almost nothing, and read or puzzle solve or knit, I would expect frozen margaritas to be part of that package!

  5. I do believe that people in third world countries, without air-conditioning, are more apt to commit violence than nicely cooled people. Heat builds until they can't stand it anymore and they decide to take out a neighboring village.
    I don't think sitting still and playing Sudoku would do much except perhaps accelerate the anger. but maybe that's just me:)
    Agricultural Scientist? Bah Humbug!

  6. I'm Scottish, living in a climate for which I was not born and bred. If I didn't have AC to fall back on to keep it at a balmy 75 degrees in my house, I'd be forced to paint myself blue and start running around naked hacking people with claymores. No one wants that. Least of all the Coxes.

    AC FTW.

  7. I can sit, as long as the sitting involves repeatably lifting a drink to my mouth.

  8. Hm. I get very grumpy when it's hot, and math of any sort makes me even grumpier. In fact, it's safe to say that I have a definite animosity toward numbers. Sometimes I even start to get angry when I just see a phone number someone left carelessly lying around. So heat + Sudoku would = homicidal rage with a heaping pile of demented delusions for me. Nobody wants that, so I'll stick with my AC, thankyouverymuch.

  9. Ok, the comments here are funnier than the original post! Angie and Barbara and Simon, I am with you all the way. Did I tell you that we went 36 years of marriage w/out it? And that we are STILL married? molly

  10. And I would tell her to "...stop thrashing, sit still, and you will feel the coolness."
    I'm going down to the basement where it is always comfortable....and practice.

  11. I have two words for you.

    Hot. Flash.

    These days, I carry enough fire power to start a war myself. I saw this couple featured on the Weather Channel. And I'm still sitting in the AC and thanking God for it.

  12. Hah! Count me in as one who's all for wearing less.

  13. Coming over from your tweet...and you are right, I laughed. Basically I laughed at the Coxes -- are they insane? When we first househunted in Nebraska (we moved here from MA), I marveled to my mom on the phone, "I can't believe everyone house here has central air!" We thought it was because Nebraskans were rich or something. Turns out it's simply damn hot here and you can't live without it (in my opinion).

  14. Not a problem we usually have in the north east of England but given the temperatures you get I'd be turning on my AC as well - sitting very still I'm pretty sure isn't the answer.

  15. Oh please, sit still, so for those of us who are not retired what is their suggestion?

    Fans are they kidding, they have never lived in the heat of Texas. And for those of you who talk about days gone by...people we do not live in past. They did not live our fast paced lives and we cannot change that.

    Let's be realistic, I am with you being menopausal I have uncovered my ability to take heat has drastically reduced to put it lightly.

    Between the full moon and heat you ask police officers what causes more crime.

  16. To be a fly on the wall at your house ... would be very entertaining!

  17. I think police say that crime goes up when it is hot, and down when it is cold. The Coxes are unique! molly

  18. It is very important to me that my crazy-heat loving husband never EVER reads this article. He will put it on his list of reasons I should not run the air conditioner.

    My list of reasons I should run it starts with the fact that heat makes me want to hit people who force me to stay in it.

    Reading and Soduku are good....but only in 72 degree temperature.

  19. Oh my! These people must be friends with my parents. They refuse to turn on the air conditioning until I beg them when it finally reaches 90 degrees INSIDE. I feel like I'm 12.

    Maybe we should be importing Soduku and books to Africa instead of food. If only they would just SIT there and do puzzles instead of starting wars... for thought. :)

  20. Ummm, it's hot where we live, like bust a gas line hot (it happened, we swear!) so we say go for the air, if you got it, use it! And so to offset it, don't start wars and recycle or something, that outta help!

  21. Haha!! I just read this and it's hilarious. And I think that couple is very noble but I get grumpy walking from my house to the car in Virginia heat.


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