Airy the Air Conditioner and I decided that we would go for a drive together, while it continued to tell me about its long and often difficult life. It grips the wheel tighter than most would, a fact that surprises me, given its cool demeanour even at the worst of times.
“I suppose I should tell you about my first ever holiday,” it says, breathing slower than normal. “I went to Tasmania with a close friend, another air conditioner that lived down the street from me. We went on a cruise ship, enjoying the tranquillity of the sea. Once we got to the mainland, we rented a car, much like this one. Our plan was to drive around the entire state in a couple of weeks.”
“Your plan?” I ask. “You say that as if it didn’t come to fruition.”
Airy takes a deep breath, steadying its breathing. A chill rushed through the car, however. It’s a minute before it responds, once we get around a bus that has stopped in the middle of the street.
“The car we rented wasn’t as nice as it looked. We spent most of our holiday trying to find brake repair near Hobart. We didn’t get to explore the state at all, really. We didn’t get to see the kangaroos hopping around, or search for the supposedly extinct Tasmanian tiger. Both things we had looked forward to.”
“So, the holiday was a letdown, then?”
“Oh, I wouldn’t say that.” Airy lets out a wry smile, but seems intent on keeping the reason to itself. After a pause, it continues. “We were able to explore much of Hobart while looking for its best mechanic. Hobart is a beautiful city. Have you ever been?”
I shake my head but make the conscious decision not to say anything. Airy is talking freely, and I will not do anything to break this moment.
“I’ve always wanted to go back to Tasmania and explore the whole thing. But sadly my friend passed away in the summer of ‘95. Replaced by a newer model.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry,” I offer.
Airy shrugs it off. “It happens to the best of us, eventually. Such is the life of an air conditioner.”