In spite of the fact that Ethan and I have lived here for over a year, we still find summer in Sydney to be hot. It doesn’t help that our new place has a few poorly placed trees, so during the day it heats up like an Ezy-Bake oven. Although we have an air conditioning, it basically only air conditions the living room, in particular, the sofa. So Ethan and I try to do a lot of heat management with fans – partially because of the poor airflow, but also because we’re cheap bastards.
When we moved here from Maroubra, we brought two fans with us that we had acquired for the low, low price of $0. One was an American box fan that Ethan’s dad had given us that was left by a vacating tenant. Although operational, at the time it was covered in dust and also, judging by a large amount of feathers on the blades, at one point had eaten a pigeon, therefore requiring some cleaning on my part. Our second fan we managed to scavenge from a pile of junk left outside the front of the Maroubra apartment. In spite of being “junk”, it worked, and was in fact cleaner than the box fan originally had been.
Within a short time of moving, the Maroubra fan died. So I went to Vinnie’s, partially because I like to give consumerism the finger by purchasing used things, and partially because I’m a cheap bastard, and bought a new fan for $8. Then the box fan bit the dust. It had developed the annoying habit of not operating on level 2, but I found if you smacked the dial a little bit, it would start up. Until one day it wouldn’t start up at all. I guess I smacked it around just a little too much.
Now we’re left with the $8 fan, which is still working great. It has 3 levels, which seem to be EF1, EF2, and EF3, as specified in the Enhanced Fujita tornado scale. In the living room this resulted in a dust-bunny cotillion and a minor Christmas card disaster, in which pictures of my friends’ children fell like the ducks at a state fair shooting gallery. Last night it was warm enough that out of desperation, we decided to move Hurricane Miranda into the bedroom.
In a normal house, you might be able to open some windows, to help with airflow. Unfortunately, we live on Major Thoroughfare #1, and the sound of cars driving past all night long does nothing to lull me to sleep. I thought the fan might provide some gentle white noise in the bedroom to help drown out the sound of sirens and thumping bass all night long.
So there I was, lying in bed, watching our bookmarks and various scraps of paper float above my head like a mobile of disorganization when I realized, this is not working. I asked Ethan if he was asleep yet. “No”, he replied.
“Is the fan bothering you?”
“Sort of. It’s kind of loud.”
“I know, I keep thinking about the end of Casablanca, when they’re standing on the tarmac, waiting for the plane to take Ingrid Bergman to Lisbon.”
“Yeah. You know that part in North By Northwest when Cary Grant nearly gets taken out by the crop duster? That’s what I was thinking of.”
At that moment, there was a loud clunk. I turned the light on to find out that the fan had blown a picture and its holder from the top of the bookshelf. “Maybe if you didn’t have it on rotate?” Ethan suggested helpfully. I picked up the picture and its holder, and weighted them down with a piece of my “rock collection”. Next house I live in, I thought, we’re going to have real air conditioning and better airflow. And it won’t be located on The Highway to Hell, so we won’t have to use a fan that makes us dream we are being evacuated from a rooftop in Saigon. And then maybe, I’ll get some goddamn sleep in the summer.
But we’ll always have Sydney.