A few years ago, I typed up all the letters my grandparents wrote each other in the early 1940s (when he was at West Point, she was in Houston or NYC, and they were dating/engaged). (More on that at some other time.) One of the more entertaining bits to me was when she wrote of her excitement that her office had purchased air conditioning, and that it would be turned on between 1 and 4 pm in the summer.
I have a few coworkers who don't have air conditioning. (I live in Houston, if you've missed that.) I've lived in India, where air conditioning is rare and it's often 90 degrees at night and humid, but with good ventilation and a fan it's not bad, except when there's a power cut and your fan gives out. (I've also lived in England, where there was once a news story on TV on how possibly one could manage to sleep when the temperature only got down to 70 degrees at night -- however, they mostly don't have fans and mostly don't/can't open their windows, so I can imagine it might be a bit suffocating at times.) Last September, after the hurricane, most of us went two weeks or so with no electricity. Not bad, inconvenient, but not bad. (Yes, if you depend for your life on electronic medical equipment, bad. For most of us, not bad.)
Why am I thinking of this? Someone was just yammering on about how it should be mandatory for the City to provide free air conditioning to everyone in town, because it's a necessity of life and it's a basic human right.
When did we get so soft?
There was one interview on TV after Hurricane Rita a few years back, where the reporter asked a fellow how he was managing to survive with no air conditioning. His response? "I haven't got it anyhow, so it doesn't bother me!"