Tea and the Oscillating Fan

Tea time can get reflective, with memories of days gone by flooding into your consciousness. Childhood is often the source of those memories. And for some of you the changes made over time in technology make those memories even more significant, contrasting your lives now with how they were then. Here is an example, involving an oscillating fan.

A new model made to look like those old models for those of us nostalgic for the “good ol’ days” (more like the “sweaty ol’ days”)
A new model made to look like those old models for those of us nostalgic for the “good ol’ days” (more like the “sweaty ol’ days”)

The other day, while sipping my mid-afternoon cuppa Darjeeling, 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). Once upon a time, oscillating fans (the kind that rotate from left to right and back again) were a key component of home and business cooling systems, since air conditioning was not quite in widespread use yet. Their importance during those sultry dog days of Summer was beyond price.

In those days of my youth before we had central air conditioning installed in the house (my mother threatened to stop cooking – period! – and she was a very good cook), we would use oscillating fans in just about every room of the house, doing what they could to keep us and our tempers cool. The oscillating fan in my bedroom turned my way and blew on me – ah! – turned away and blew on another corner of the room – 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 it’s like lying in a pool of warm water. Even those who are raised in Equatorial or Monsoonal regions never really acclimate. The worst part is when the temperature after sundown 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 dad had said it was supposed to be better for air movement with the breeze going around the room, and he was a pretty smart guy so I let the fan oscillate. 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 without the fan and the tea.

These days oscillating fans are still quite popular, despite the widespread use of air conditioning, and I have switched to drinking hot tea year round (others do the opposite – drinking iced tea year round). But the memories linger of the heat and that fan’s valiant yet futile efforts to allay it. They make me grateful for technology. Let’s hope we never have to go back to life without such convenience.

Uh oh, teacup is empty. Time to set memories aside and get a refill.

Ways to Keep Your Cool:

(Please let me know if descriptions are missing. WordPress sometimes drops them.)

Stay cool, folks!

© 2017-2021 World Is a Tea Party photos and text

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