Posts Tagged ‘air-conditioning’
It’s been a sweaty old day chez Mrs Dubai. More than once I’ve caught myself wiping a haze of moisture from my brow. By 3pm, and after a particularly sweaty school run, I quit trying to look graceful in linen, skinny jeans and heels and changed into shorts, a vest and flip-flops, while the children, looking slightly damp and pink of cheek, retreated languidly to the sofa from which they watched Horrid Henry DVDs (after promising to model themselves on Perfect Peter, not HH, natch).
The problem is, it was only 34˚C outside and, just as my father resolutely turned off the heating on April 15 each year (no matter if I was building a snowman in the garden), I just can’t bring myself to turn on the air-conditioning until it’s at least 36˚C.
Because once the a/c is on, that’s it till November. Sometimes even December. And I can’t bear the thought of breathing that artificial, recycled air 24 hours a day for the next six months. It makes me want to run outside and hyperventilate by the frangipani tree just thinking about it.
But the relationship I have with the air-conditioning is, as Facebook would say, “complicated”. There is love as well as hate. There is a critical tipping point at which I can’t live without it – as anyone whose a/c has broken down in the summer will testify. I think it’s about 36˚C; 38˚C if I’m feeling tough.
Meanwhile, I feel we’re about to enter the few days of “cheating” that I sneak in before going fully air-conditioned – a buffer zone, so to speak, a period of adjustment, during which I switch on the a/c but keep the patio doors open to give the illusion of a cold breeze wafting through the house.
It’s our last gasp of fresh air till we reach Europe in July.
I hate air-conditioning. I hate that DS and DD, both born in the spring, breathed nothing but a/c air for the first eight months of their lives; I hate that we’re dependent on fake air for so much of the year. It can’t be healthy.
Still, as anyone whose a/c has broken down in summer will tell you, in the UAE it’s a necessary evil. I keep it off for as much of the year as possible and I do what I can to maintain our air quality by getting the system cleaned and serviced every three to four months.
But I’ve known for a couple of years that, when it comes to a/c services, there’s cleaning – and then there’s cleaning. Some time ago I gave up calling in the lame lizards who spat on a toothbrush and a tissue to “clean” the vents, and I started using a company that actually got the hose out for something (not sure what) and did at least leave the house smelling of disinfectant.
But this week, I learned that there’s a whole new level: CLEANING.
CLEANING of the a/c system involves eight men spending nine hours taking out every component of the system, vacuuming, cleaning and disinfecting it, then putting it all back together again, before “misting” the entire house with something magic to ensure that any mould spores don’t get back into the clean a/c.
It’s the type of cleaning done in hospitals and ambulances, apparently, and it’s very, very good. They even take “before” and “after” photos to show you what they’ve done. Would you like to see my before and after pix?
Remember, this is an a/c system that was professionally “cleaned” (for about Dhs 2,000) every four months:
This type of deep-clean needs to be done only every two years. It cost Dhs 500 per “living area” ie room or corridor. It can then be maintained with a small clean every 3-4 months. I wasn’t paid to write this but, in the interest of your health, the company is SaniService: 04-3415592.
Tonight I’d like to share with you an experience I had today while getting my legs waxed.
Given I’m currently not quite as exhausted as I have been over the past two years, it was the first leg-wax I’ve had in ages that I haven’t had to treat as a chance to catch up on some zzz (yes, that’s how tired I’ve been).
So I got chatting to the therapist, a lovely lady from Mangalore, who has been doing my legs since, ooh, before DS was born. As I asked her increasingly complex questions about herself, I found myself imagining what her life would be like. She works, sometimes with back-to-back appointments, in a room that can’t be more than 15 feet by 8 feet, with no natural light and grey-painted walls. When she finishes at 6pm, she “runs” outside to get into the fresh air, but then she has to wait 30 minutes till her car lift comes.
“I wish my car come earlier so I home by 7 o’clock, not 7.30,” she said wistfully, as if that’s all she wanted in life. “Company bus, it come at 6 o’clock, but it go to Sharjah. I not live in Sharjah.”
Instead of staying in the company accommodation, she lives in town with another lady, who works as a secretary in Jebel Ali. The two of them are “peas in pod”, she told me, because they both like to sleep with the air-conditioning and the fans on full blast: “Really cold. When we go to India, we no can stand: No a/c.”
“She doesn’t cause me any trouble,” said my therapist of her flatmate of two years. “We’re both there with the a/c on and a thick rug on us. Sometimes I think to change my flatmate but I’m too scared I won’t get someone who wants the a/c.”
I thought about them blowing their salaries on the luxury of air-con. Somehow, it made me smile. I left the room with hair-free legs, arched eyebrows and a warm feeling in my heart. I think she did, too: She wouldn’t let go of my hand.
“Madam, I enjoy so much talking you,” she said with a big smile. “Come back soon.”
How could I have slept through this for the last two years?