My parents bought me my first car as a present for my graduation from high school. Like most teenagers, I was absolutely ecstatic.
It had dings in the paint, a few dents on the outside and a hole in the carpet in the back floorboard, but to me it was perfect.
However, like many older, used cars, it started going south pretty soon after I got it.
First, my driver's side lock started making a funny noise. When my car accelerated to 15 mph, the doors would automatically lock. One day, I pulled out of the driveway and when I hit 15 mph, my driver's side lock made a horrendous moaning noise that sounded awfully like a dying cow. It scared me so badly, I almost ran off the road.
After that, every unsuspecting soul who rode in the car with me jumped just as high as I did the first time when I heard the dying-cow noise produced by my lock.
The next thing to expire in my car was the CD player which for any teenager is the end of the world.
However, the most catastrophic loss was when my air conditioning decided to act up. When the mechanic told me it would cost almost $3,000 to fix, I chose to sweat and began referring to my car as a personal, rolling sauna. However, I just didn't realize how much I'd actually end up sweating in that personal sauna.
Last summer, I interned at Creative Loafing in Atlanta. At the time, I lived in Newnan which is a good 45 minutes down I-85 from the big city so I commuted...without air conditioning. After my car had been roasting and toasting in the hot July sun all day, I got to drive home through rush hour traffic trying to fight away a heat stroke.
However, during those sweltering, summer commutes, I learned some very valuable tips for surviving in a car with no air conditioning.
First, if you are driving somewhere and don't want sweat marks all over your back, ride with a towel in between your back and your shirt. You may have a red face with beads of sweat on your forehead when you arrive, but you'll have a dry shirt.
Second, roll down the rear passenger window to increase ventilation as much as possible while the vehicle is moving. This causes the air coming in the rear passenger side window to bounce against the rear and front windows of the driver's side, wrapping you in a blanket of cool, moving air.
Third, buy a personal fan and duck tape it to your dashboard. Sitting in traffic or being stuck at an impossibly long red light can be killer. At this point, you need to turn on your personal fan.
Lastly, make sure you never leave anywhere in the car without some kind of cold beverage in your cup holder. For this purpose, no kind of soda counts as a beverage. It'll make you sick. Just trust me on that one. Water and Gatorade are your best options.
For those of you suffering without air conditioning, you can survive and know there are others sweating out there somewhere with you. Until then, grab your bottle of water and towel, turn on that faithful portable fan adhered to your dashboard and crack that back window.