For one crazy reason or another, I decided to attend college in the Inland Empire, away from my home near the ocean. I was born and raised in Orange County, and each summer would be filled with prominent tan lines, s'more making bonfires, and car trunks full of sand. I took the cool sea breeze for granted, and once I moved only a few miles inland where the air stayed still, I finally realized what I had taken for granted.
Don't get me wrong, I loved my college days. Yet, compared to Orange County the summers in Riverside were hotter, drier, and much more miserable without proper cooling. I would remember, after a rainfall, how green and lush the wild plants would be in Box Springs reserve and then once the heat wave kicked in, the whole landscape dried to tan dust. The dust eventually got to me. My eczema broke in full force and I had to make it a religion to moisturize my skin.
I never stayed in one place for long. Every 9 months I would be moving; either back home to Orange County or to another apartment complex with different roommates. For the first three summers I dreaded moving back to my parents after my academic year was done. After I had my first stable job, I spent my sophomore-junior summer at home and it was ultimately the last I had there.
My first summer in Riverside was fantastic. I had the apartment virtually all to myself and an absent roommate. It was funny...even though I lived with her for a few nights she finally just disappeared and kept on paying rent up until the end of summer. I figured that her parents must be very rich. But in mid-June, the AC broke down. I wasn't a heavy AC user...as there was a public pool right across the street with a diving board. But then, I began to feel the pain.
Imagine living in 100 degree weather with no AC. I found out cheaper alternatives to keep myself cool, but I ended up borrowing my mother's box fan to make myself comfortable. I loved that box fan. It had years of tear and abuse put onto it; from kicking it down and grimy knobs.
I realize now that college students can really benefit from portable AC units and fans. I know, firsthand, how college living was like...and it was impossible to stay in one place at any given time. I told myself if there was anyone I knew heading off to college, my first gift to them would be a fan.