Flash Back: What it Might Be Like to Live Without Heat

Once during the winter, prompted by my friend Peter’s experience in China, I turned off the heat in my apartment and tried to live life as normal, but without the modern convenience (and privilege) of heat. Here is a bit of Living without Heat:

I wondered about how much the quality of your apartments building layout affects your expenses to keep it warm. Can you imagine living in a low income housing situation where not only was your rent high for extremely low quality, but you had to leave the heat running constantly to keep it at all warm.
Friday night I went to sleep with a sheet, a comforter, a blanket and then a sleeping bag (rated to 20 degrees) on top of me. I was warm, but it felt like being outside. Saturday at about noon I stepped outside and realized it was considerable warmer out there then it was in my own apartment and it was only 46 degrees out there. I tried to open the window shades to let the sun in, but the angle our house is at didn’t allow for much direct sunlight coming through.
After it got cold enough that I had to put on a shirt, long sleeve shirt, sweatshirt and sometimes a vest I was starting to get miserable. I don’t have a hat or gloves and so I had my hood on and I tried to keep my hands in my sleeves a bit. My hands where getting quite cold which didn’t feel good. I tried to think of it like camping outdoors or something, but I couldn’t break out of the fact that this was my home! I feel like I should be comfortable in my home. I thought in my mind that maybe I should try and make it through Saturday evening, making it a full 48 hours. I sort of made that up on the spot cause I think I wanted to feel like I had achieved some sort of goal, or survived through something. Truth is I just wanted to turn the heat back on.

Read the rest here.

Could you imagine actually living without the ability to control the heat in the winter and the air conditioning in the summer? Would we be angrier and more difficult people just because of that inconvenience, or would we learn how to cope?

3 thoughts on “Flash Back: What it Might Be Like to Live Without Heat”

  1. i do believe most of us would be angrier and would learn to cope. it’s amazing what humans can get used to, and what happens to them when they have to adjust.

  2. Heat isn’t a modern convenience. Fire has been around for a long time. The problem today is that most new construction isn’t built with fireplaces or wood burning stoves. And there’s not much of a place for many people to go collect fire wood. I grew up on a ranch and the only source of heat was a wood burning stove which we also used for cooking. We cut our own fire wood to run the stove. It only heated a small portion of the house and we wore more clothes. In the summer we had no AC. Water is a good way to cool off. I often slept with water next to my bed to dump on myself. In fact, the majority of the places that I’ve lived have not had AC. These days though we’re cutting down so many trees around new developments and building them in such a way that they don’t stay naturally cool so we think that we have to have these “conveniences”. I don’t see them as conveniences but instead added expenses that poor people would be better off without if only we could properly build homes. Its another way that the indulgences of the rich trickle down to the poor making life more difficult.

  3. Indie,

    Well said. I know I certainly take the ability to control temperature for granted. I’d love to live in a home that was set up to work well with the weather.

    I know I would be a more irritable person. But yes we are a resilient people.

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