Let's call this unfinished, too.
By the time you need it, it’s almost too late.
The ad said that the air conditioner worked great besides being hideous. It was one of those brown and beige numbers, possibly a fire hazard, but spit out the coldest fucking air you had ever felt.
The seller was “Finally taking the plunge with my hubby! His place has central air so I won’t be needing this anymore.”
I couldn’t decide what was more annoying about this ad: The fact that she used the word, “Hubby”, the fact that her husband definitely had to be some sort of business casual asshole from Manhattan, or that the ad showed her gorgeous wooden floors.
I have a carpet and each step on it feels like a crime being committed on my feet. It’s not dirty or anything like that, it’s just warm, and I can’t stand the feeling of hot feet. It’s like I’m not as solid in my body or something.
My apartment didn’t come with heat, electricity, nor enough space for a single human to live comfortably. The only upside is that one of three windows didn’t point directly at a brick wall and held a small portion of my needier plants. The others either gave up the ghost upon my moving in or could thrive in the darkness. With windows pointing at walls, there was no shame in throwing in the air conditioner in one of them, fresh air be damned.
She answered the door freakishly fast after I rang the bell. Her blonde ponytail bobbed as her bare feet slapped the floors of her tiled hallway.
“Can you lift this by yourself?” she asked. She absentmindedly scratched at her thigh below her athletic shorts, the matte finish of the fabric speaking to its, what I assumed, hefty price tag.
“Sure,” I replied, although knowing that I was not going to make that far down her hallway without having to put it down first. I dug in my shorts pocket for the bills I had folded. Her nose wrinkled slightly. “Oh!” She said brightly, “Oh, Venmo or something would have totally worked.” She took a second to grab the money from my hand as if she were about to fish her phone out of the toilet.
I thanked her and went to go call an uber outside. I stood in the grassy plot near the curb, waiting. The little green path on my phone showed that the driver was at least 15 minutes away. The AC sat forlornly on the grass next to my feet, a companion in the silence that only summer could bring. It was square and plain and awful. My stupid bangs were sweaty and I tucked them behind my ears, creating an unflattering middle part.
Cars honked in the distance. It felt like divers in New York honked as an essential part of driving. Honking to turn the corner, honking at lights, honking as they try to make it through a yellow light, honking hello, or honking before they pull into a parking space, where ever those might be.
The sun was warm and the air was hot in a way that made me feel like I should be doing more. Making the little bits of my exposed skin too tight and too close. Summer has a way of making you feel like an asshole if you weren’t on vacation every other day. As if this would be the year you would backpack across the south, stopping into mom and pop shops and hoping not to have a hate crime committed against you.
Summer also made me want more. Like I could step out of my apartment and feel like I became a new person each day. And that was a really heavy load to carry. I looked down at the AC, its slatted, plastic front slightly dusty from sitting unused.
And I had an idea.
There are old movies or cartoons, I’m not sure, where AC’s have strings or ribbons tied to them. Maybe they did this to show the movement of air. Adding dancing, colorful things to show that this object, this machine,
was indeed alive.
How could it not be?
My driver was arriving soon and I still had time to adjust the location. We were stopping at the art supply store first. Hopefully, if I buttered the driver up enough with tips, they would wait while I looked for something worthwhile.