(From Yahoo! Images)

(From Yahoo! Images)

Tea time can get reflective, with memories of days gone by flooding into your consciousness. Thus it was the other day that, while sipping my mid-afternoon cuppa Darjeeling (or was it an oolong?), that the memory of the oscillating fan came to the forefront and imposed itself over all the other things circling around in my brain (from grocery lists to my plans for upcoming tea tastings). Oscillating fans are still quite popular, but there was a time when their importance during those sultry days of Summer was beyond price. Let me explain…

I remember the days of my youth before we had air conditioning. The oscillating fan blew on me – ah! Turned away – agony! It was set in a wide-open window in the bedroom in a vain attempt to give some relief so I could sleep. Heat is bad enough, but coupled with high humidity makes it like lying in a pool of hot water. Even those who are raised in Equatorial or Monsoonal regions never really acclimate. The worst is when the temperature in the evening after the sun goes down stays up relatively high. A drop from 99° to 85° Fahrenheit hardly matters when humidity is 70-80-90%. And neither do oscillating fans. But every time it turned my way I gave a sigh of momentary relief.

I wanted to stop the oscillation and have the fan blowing on me all the time, but it was supposed to be better for air movement with the breeze going around the room. Maybe so, but one thing was for sure … it was even better with a glass full of ice and tea in hand. In the daytime, I would either be outside under a shady tree with that cold tea or inside in front of that oscillating fan. Fortunately, there was only a limited portion of the year when such weather was in force. But I don’t know how I would have survived with the fan and the tea.

These days I drink hot tea year round (and others do the opposite – drinking iced tea year round). And we have air conditioning. But the memories linger. It makes my gratitude for technology all the greater.

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

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