Cool Air

Frieda cooling off in my studio
Frieda cooling off in my studio with the air conditioner

It’s days like today, when it’s 90 degrees out and almost that in my studio, that  I get flashes of those B&W photos of rows of  immigrant women hunched over sewing machines in factories with big windows.  My first thoughts always go to the Triangle Shirt Factory Fire,  because it’s through that story that I first became aware of the term Sweatshop and the horrors it brings.  Then my mind goes to a French movie I saw years ago (I’ll won’t even try to remember the name of it) I only remember one scene, where the heroine who is working in a sewing factory is forced to have sex with her boss in order to keep her job. The images in my head move quickly to the color photos of the workers killed in the recent factory collapse in Bangladesh.  These same images stream through my mind when I’m sewing and my back starts to hurt.

Sweatshop… I am grateful.  It could be me in another time, in another country, or in this country born to different parents.  Here in my studio, when my back hurts, I take a break, or do something else, or  I put on some Krishna Das and do some Yoga, or I stop working all together.    And  when the open windows and fan and  big shade Maples over my studio no longer keep my studio cool enough, I get the air conditioner out of the attic and put it in my window.

I used to be stoic,  I used to think there was something noble about suffering, I was against air conditioners like I was against computers.   As if my suffering could help someone else.  But now, I’m grateful.  Grateful to have these comforts available to me.  I’m grateful for my air conditioner.

10 thoughts on “Cool Air

  1. Maria,

    Would you be willing to say more about how you became comfortable about being comfortable?

    Best,

    Janet Rock

    1. Ok Janet, I started to answer your comfortable question and realized I need to think about it more and it may be too long to leave as a comment. I think Comfortable being Comfortable might make a good blog post. So I’ll get back to you. Thanks for asking.

  2. Growing up in India, I came to have such a different feeling about heat. And suffering. So interesting to note how your mind went from thought to thought, image to image – in this interconnected world, the suffering of people far away seems much closer, much more imaginable. I can’t help but believe that that is a good thing, right?

    1. I bet Tara, I’m curious about how you feel about it. And yes, I do think it’s a good thing. To be aware and do what we can. (which often feels like so little to me).

  3. Frieda remains the most beautiful dog in the world. I am SO looking forward to “Second Chance Dog — A Love Story”!!!! Annie

  4. Maria, I, too was against some modern appliances, or tools of technology for a long time. When I was first married, I was totally against microwaves for ages. I believed that food needed to be cook, created and served right away; the ones that weren’t were frozen and defrosted when I planned meals for my family. I thought that the microwave harbored radiation that wasn’t good for us. I resisted buying one until we finally moved into our home about eighteen years ago. Well, one of our ovens has a microwave in it and lo, and behold, it is a life saver and I love it! It makes things much easier. Unfortunately, our oven is old and when it goes out we won’t be able to have a built in microwave. We’d have to get new ovens which will create all kinds of new problems. Smaller built in ovens with microwaves in them don’t seem to exist any more. That is what some call progress. It all sounds rather silly, but I guess sometimes silly makes the world go ’round. Enjoy your air conditioner; you deserve it.
    Jane

  5. Another thing— comfortable with being comfortable is a wonderful thing. I find that sometimes it is the thing that makes life easier. One is comfortable with our friends, with what makes life easier, with accepting the ups and downs of life. Sometimes comfortable involves
    compromise, with working together to solve problems or adjust to situations that might seem difficult for us. I think it is easier to be comfortable and accept who and what we are rather than “fight windmills.”
    Am I making sense?
    Jane

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