I found out something bad about myself, and I’m here to confess.
I’m an air conditioner tyrant.
Let me explain.
We begin when Francesca comes home from New York, so we can leave together to start a book tour for our new book, I Need a Lifeguard Everywhere but the Pool.
By the way, if you like these columns, you’ll love the book.
Plus, it has pictures.
We also recorded the audiobook, so you can listen to it when you drive around, and you have not known bliss until you have our two Philadelphia accents in your ear on a long car ride.
Anyway, when Francesca comes home, in the middle of a week-long heat wave, the first thing she notices is that I don’t have the air conditioning on.
That was a surprise ending, wasn’t it?
You thought I was going to say that I do have the air conditioner on.
But in fact, one of the quirky things about me is that I don’t like air conditioning.
Quirky means adorable.
I don’t know why I started hating on air conditioning, but I always have. Even though I have central air conditioning, I never use it.
Please allow me to defend myself.
I don’t like feeling like I live inside a refrigerator. I like being the same temperature as my surroundings. And I love to throw open all the windows in the house and let in not only the breeze, but the chirping of the birds and the fresh green smell of mowed grass.
I know, I’m so poetic.
Never mind that I’m sweating my ass off.
It’s a poetic ass.
I don’t know what to tell you, but I just like fresh air, and the most I do to get cool is put on a fan.
It’s a $20 Lasko fan that you can buy at Home Depot, and I own about eight of them. I know it’s not a classy look for the house. When I take a picture for my author page on Facebook, I make sure the fans don’t show.
For my fans.
Plus, I’m nostalgic about fans because they remind me of Mother Mary, and she and I used to have a famous fight, wherein she would claim that the fan should be in the window and turned blowing out, so the hot air was sucked out of the room.
We sweated inside the house, cooling the backyard.
She also believed that you could locate two fans into opposite windows and create cross-ventilation, but if you’re relying on the Flying Scottolines for physics, you’re in trouble.
So I decided that, when I grew up, I would have the fans facing the way God intended, blowing air right at you. And then I got the brilliant idea that a fan didn’t need to be in a window at all, but could be sitting right on the kitchen island next to you while you ate dinner.
Never mind that the fan will send tomato sauce spraying onto your T-shirt.
Think of it as a sea breeze, only Italian.
So as soon as Francesca comes home, she starts lobbying for me to turn on the air conditioning, and I refuse. I tell her about the fans and Mother Mary and how great it is to feel the wind in your face, even if you bought the wind at Home Depot.
Francesca lets me have my way until the temperature hits 92 degrees outside, a fact she proves by pointing to the air-conditioner thermostat. “Mom, do you see this? This is very hot. We need to turn on the air conditioner.”
“No we don’t. I feel fine. Sit in front of the fan.”
“I am and I’m still hot.”
“But I hate air conditioning.”
“I love air conditioning. Mom, can’t you compromise, just a little?”
“No,” I tell her, meaning it. I hate compromising, too. I’ve spent my whole life compromising, and now I avoid it at every opportunity.
And it feels great.
Even if I’m sweaty.
And you are, too.
You might think I’m a bad person, but I’m just a woman who has put everyone else first for a long time, and now it’s my turn.
If you’re a woman reading this, perhaps you identify. And if you don’t, you’ve lived your life better than I have.
But then Francesca said to me, “Mom, look at the dogs, they’re panting.”
So I looked over on the kitchen floor, and Francesca was right. All six dogs had their tongues out, even though they had their own fan. And then I realized I could give my dogs heatstroke inside my own house.
So I compromised and turned on the air conditioning.
And I learned something bad about myself.
That I compromised for my dogs, but not for my daughter.
A fact that I pointed out to Francesca, who just laughed.
But I learned a lesson.
Sometimes compromising is OK.
But don’t make a habit of it.
And don’t compromise a lot.
Only by degrees.
Look for Lisa and Francesca’s new humor collection, “I Need a Lifeguard Everywhere But the Pool,” and Lisa’s new domestic thriller, “One Perfect Lie,” in stores now. Also, look for Lisa’s new Rosato & DiNunzio novel, “Exposed,” coming Aug. 15.