The thermometer was reading 87 degrees, and it was 7:09am. Google maps said 45 minutes to the destination. Time to crank up the A/C. I reached over and twisted the knob that would free the vent window, and I pushed it open about halfway. No sense in putting it on maximum yet, let’s see how this works. I did the same by loosening the seat belt and reaching over to the passenger side vent. The airflow was impressive. Despite the windows already being open, the driver’s area cooled significantly. The phone said it was now 90 degrees outside and a frigid 81 degrees in the cockpit. The temperature outside continued to climb. I opened the driver side vent to max. Another impressive boost in the direction of airflow, if not the volume. Thankfully, traffic was doing 80 mph in the left lane. But not for long, as we soon went through the city center. The slowdown to 45mph was brutal. 97 degrees and humid outside, 92 degrees and humid in the car. I eyed the air conditioner controls in the center console. They had not been connected to anything for years, but for a second, I thought that turning them to the coldest position might actually do something. Anything. I could hear Alec Guinness imploring me to use the Force. But my training was apparently incomplete. I was not ready.
An interminably long 11 minutes later, we were back up to full speed, only to exit the highway and endure 3 long miles of traffic lights until the destination. Inside the restaurant, I headed immediately for the restroom., and did my best to mitigate the sweat. Then I joined 15 like-minded individuals who had commandeered two tables. Several of them bore the telltale damp-chested t-shirt of a man who had just arrived in a car without air conditioning. In fact, only a few of the cars had functioning air conditioning, but they gladly endured trips of varying lengths to get to a breakfast in the middle of July. After breakfast we went outside to look at cars and parts. The temperature had stabilized at 97 degrees. Issues were diagnosed. Advice given. Wrenches turned. All of the cars are found worthy. All are in some perpetual state of “almost finished” or “ongoing project”. But they were all driven and endured and patched up and sanded down and discussed at length in a convection oven masquerading as a parking lot. Why? Because that is what the faithful do in the middle of July on a sweltering morning in an asphalt parking lot, when they all have perfectly good climate controlled vehicles that they left at a climate controlled home.