From the people who brought you the $400 vacuum cleaner, behold the $450 fan:
Yes, it’s the Dyson “air multiplier.” Saw these in a Best Buy the other day, and to be sure, $450 is the price only for the two on the right. The little one on the left is a steal at $300. They were putting out a lot of air, I’ll give ’em that. What makes them worth a price like that? Why, they have no blades. What’s wrong with blades? “Buffeting” — it says right there on the display. No blades, no buffeting.
Of all the things to dislike about room fans, buffeting never occurred to me. Dust on the blades, yes, about a million other things, but not buffeting. Anyway, for $450, you can buy an air conditioner, although the Dyson Air Multiplier is certainly more stylish. I like that blue. I hate to go off on yet another reverie of nostalgia here, but thinking about fans makes me think of a few times in the past when they were significant factors in my quality of life. They were not times when I could afford $450 for air multiplication. My first term at college was a summer session; I left for Athens one week after high-school graduation, and landed in the middle of the steamiest, hottest summer in southeast Ohio in many years. No AC in the dorms, only two of which were open for the small residential community — one for men, one for women. A fan was an absolute necessity, and there was something wonderful about turning it on in the evenings, leaving the room for a while, and returning after dark to feel that blessedly cool, cool breeze.
(Fans told you who had dope; if it was turned around, blowing out, and especially if there was a pillow stuffed into the part of the window it didn’t fill, someone was blowing marijuana smoke out of their room.)
That was a hot summer, but not the hottest. That was reserved for Key West in September, where I went to visit a friend one week in 1980. He and his roommate had an un-air conditioned apartment; can you imagine? In Florida? They called it the hovel, and it was, but for a week it was our hovel. The fan ran constantly, on high, the only thing that made it inhabitable at all. It was dying, and the first lesson I learned was DO NOT TOUCH THE FAN. If it was ever turned off, or even turned down, it might not start up again. Sometimes it would slow down, and all conversation would cease as we turned our worried eyes to look. Would this be it? It ran down, down, down, sometimes so slow you could see the blades turning, but then, huzzah! It found its power again, and we’d applaud.
The other thing we did in that apartment was listen to the neighbors fight. The people in the front of the house were scary; he bounced her off the walls, and she would scream and cry. The people next door were merely hilarious, Florida crackers who slept briefly for a couple hours before and just after dawn, after which they’d rise and resume yelling at one another, which they did non-stop. “My boy ain’t no dummy!” “Shut up!” “YOU shut up!” And so on.
Because it was so hot, we went out a lot. Myer’s rum gimlets we drank, at three different bars, including the famous Monster, on Front Street. One night Jeff walked me to the front door, then said he was going back out. To the baths, of course, for the nightcap that would kill him a few years later. He said he never regretted any of it, and I believe him.
That fan’s in a landfill somewhere. Oh, the stories it could tell.
So how was your weekend? We went to Ohio, to celebrate my nephew’s graduation from Ohio State. It rained, and was plenty steamy there, too, but tolerable. Reading the paper Sunday I learned that soon you’ll be able to carry guns pretty much everywhere, including bars, a law that every newspaper, every tavern-owners’ group, opposed, because what really goes with guns, anyway? Liquor, that’s what. Also, the legislature is going to allow fracking — hydraulic fracturing, to extract oil and natural gas from rocks — in state parks. Not state land, mind you, state parks. Where you go to have a picnic, or show your kids what camping is like, or to drink in some natural beauty. I imagine we’ll see logging in Yellowstone in my lifetime, at this rate.
Is “Beautiful Ohio” still the state song? We had to learn it in grade school:
Drifting with the current down a moonlit stream
While above the heavens in their glory gleam
And the stars on high twinkle in the sky
Dreaming of a paradise of love divine
Dreaming of a pair of eyes that looked in mine
Beautiful Ohio, in dreams again I see
Visions of what used to be.
I see visions of a time before they treated their state parks as mining camps.
OK, enough nostalgia! Monday is always a killer, so let’s get to it:
Brian Dickerson, in the Freep, addresses the nightmare I linked to last week, that of the family riven by false sexual-abuse charges, and takes note of the weak-willed and cronied-up judges who aided and abetted the case, surely the worse miscarriage of justice to come down the pike since…the last one.
In the WashPost, Henry Allen identifies America’s problem: WASP rot.
Also in the WashPost, yet another story pointing out the obvious, which will be branded class warfare. Go enjoy your state parks, peasants! (Hope the water at the pump doesn’t catch fire.)
I’m off. Happy week to all.