This morning a guy came to do routine maintenance on the air conditioning. We wouldn't ever have sought out central air specifically, but it was installed already when we moved in here and the landlord pays for its maintenance, so there you go. I admit also that, if you're me, central air turns out to be one of those things that you insist you don't want but then when you have it you end up using it. In my meager defense, I don't use it nearly as much as most people. Because I'm better than them!
Uh, anyway, as the maintenance guy stomped around (nothing against him, he had to wear heavy boots), in and out of the house, up and down from the attic, thumping around with hammers, discovering a fault in the wiring, having trouble fixing it, thumping around more, going in and out, scaring the hell out of poor Boorman*, I found myself thinking about how the overarching system that is "my house" contains within it (at least) four major subsystems that I have absolutely no understanding of (and that's just the major housewide ones).
*Who is seriously going to start hating us, considering that all this trauma comes just two days after we took him to the vet for the first time** and because this week we have to shove glop in his eyes twice a day to treat his conjunctivitis.
**He was a surprisingly good boy, but man oh man did he hate it (of course).
Like, there was something wrong with the a/c. The guy who fixed it explained it to me. It didn't mean a thing to me. If it had gone wrong and there wasn't a guy to pay to come fix it (or, in this case, if there wasn't a guy to pay to come see if there's anything wrong on a semi-regular basis), it would have become a part of my house that didn't work. I wouldn't know how to take it out, either, so the systems that make it go would just be an enormous dead zone in the house, taking up space. I mean, it wouldn't be so bad if we didn't have air conditioning, of course, but still.
Or like, the plumbing. If something went wrong with that and there wasn't somebody to pay to come fix it, I'd be out of water. I wouldn't even know a good way of getting water without plumbing (particularly since I'm pretty sure the ground around here is toxic).
And I'm definitely not trying to say "Gosh, it sure is a good thing we have plumbing services and a/c repair!" I just think it's absurd how we've alienated ourselves so completely not only from our environment, but from our own homes--the very devices that we use to alienate ourselves from our environment. We've made the concept of "shelter" so complicated that we* don't even understand how it works--and that way there can be somebody who gets paid to understand it for us!
*I'm assuming I'm not the only one.
I feel like I should end this with some kind of a new insight, but I think that's all I've got.