The Cold Truth

Posted on April 21, 2012

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It was an unusually hot spring day when I met George for a drink. Though I was excited to whip out my cutest summer date dress and to meet a guy who was so charming over email, it was clear as soon as we entered the bar that real world conversation between us did not flow naturally. So, of course, we started chatting about the weather.

I mentioned that my least favorite thing about the summer is how high my electricity bill gets—all that air conditioning.

“Really?” he asked. “I pretty much love having the air conditioner on all year long.”

“Well then at least over the summer, you’re out of the apartment more,” I said. “That must lower the cost.”

“No, I keep it on high even if I’m not home. I never turn it off.”

I explained to him that this probably was not the best idea. All it leaves you with is a freezing apartment, a sky-high electricity bill and a slightly more damaged environment. I felt a little bad for lecturing him, but nobody needs that much cold air, and he seemed to really take what I had to say to heart.

When we’d exhausted that conversation, the waitress finally took our drink orders. After that, our rapport started to pick up a bit. He told me about his job in finance, and I pretended to understand it. He asked about my job, and we talked about our families.

Then, suddenly he was flagging down the waitress to ask for the check. Had I offended him? I mean, I was OK with the date ending, but he just seemed to be in way too much of a rush.

“I’m sorry,” he said as he handed the waitress his credit card, “I just can’t stop thinking about the air conditioning.”

“What?”

“You made me feel so bad, and now I can’t stop thinking about how my air conditioner’s just on over there, sucking up all the energy!”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to freak you out.”

“Come on, I live right around the corner,” he said.

“What?”

He grabbed my hand, and we walked out of the bar. But going back to his frigid apartment was not high on my priority list.

“You know what,” I said when we got outside. “I think I’m just going to head home.”

“No! The date has just begun,” he announced. “Let’s just run upstairs, and then we can go somewhere else.”

“How about I wait for you out front?” I went for the compromise.

When we got to his building, I sat on a bench outside, and he ran up to shut off his air conditioner. When he got down, he said, “Now that I’ve saved all that money, let me buy you a drink.” We went to a bar nearby where we could sit outside.

“What a gorgeous night,” he said. Uh oh, back to the weather talk.

“Yeah, it’s great.”

“Do you think my apartment’s going to be really hot when I get back now?” he asked. He clearly hadn’t thought this turning off the air conditioner thing all the way through.

“Probably,” I said. “You should definitely run back home and turn it on again.” My sarcasm was completely lost on him, and I could see the panic set it. After one drink, I let him go. And he seemed relieved. I hope he and his air conditioner are very happy together.

—Raz, 25, NYC

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Posted in: My Stories