Our air conditioner stopped working sometime during the night. The temperature in the house as of 4:00 a.m. was 81°F. No doubt the temperature indoors will continue to rise after daybreak. Today’s high temperature outdoors is predicted to reach 104°F. The forecast calls for temperatures over 100°F for the remainder of the week, through Friday, reaching a peak of 108°F on Thursday. We will, of course, call for emergency weekend service; I expect we will be among dozens, perhaps hundreds, of others who will attempt to be high on the list of priorities for HVAC companies’ service calls. Fortunately, we can make arrangements to stay elsewhere while waiting for the air conditioner to be repaired (though I am not quite sure what to do with the cat…perhaps boarding at a local veterinary clinic), if necessary. The discomfort of the extreme heat amounts to more than an inconvenience for others, though; it constitutes a danger that could rise to the level of life or death circumstances. That is true for at-risk people whose air conditioning systems fail. And it is true for people who live without air conditioning in their homes. It is true, as well, for people who have no homes; people who spend their days and nights on the street. Yet another spectrum…or, more properly, additional spectra. Discomfort, ranging from modest to severe. And dangers, heat-related illnesses ranging from heat cramps to heat exhaustion to heat syncope to heat stroke and, finally, heat-induced mortality—death. Social safety nets—dismissed by ultra-conservatives as wasteful give-aways that encourage lazy people to rely on the State, rather than take care of themselves—are intended to deal with such urgent issues and with emergencies that require immediate action. I wonder how the safety nets in Arkansas compare to the ones in California or Massachusetts or Wyoming? Should a person’s place of residence (or simply the place a person happens to be at any given moment) dictate the level of care to be expected? In an ideal world, it would not matter what city or county or state—or country—a person is in; society should look after people who find themselves in unfortunate circumstances. I am willing to risk over-serving a few so-called “undeserving freeloaders” if that is what it takes to ensure being ready to serve people who, through no fault of their own, cannot take care of themselves. But that is not the world we live in. We could make it into that world, though, if we tried hard enough. Yeah. Tilting at windmills.
I just wrote my President’s Message for the September issue of the church newsletter. Based on information gathered about the percentage of recipients who open the newsletter email and the much lower percentage of recipients who click on links (which allows them to open the remainder of each article), I question the investment of time and energy into the process. While a need exists to inform stakeholders about the church and its activities, a newsletter format may no longer be the approach to take. We may need to explore alternatives to keeping stakeholders informed. When I retired from association management, I thought I had left such concerns far behind me. Hah! Was I ever fooled?!
My concerns about my own comfort are beginning to take precedence over my interest in writing. So, I will end this post here.