Hot nights like these make me curse out if the electric fan performs below par for me. Maybe if had I laid off on the extra rice I wouldn’t have so much body heat. It is times like these when I remember when brownouts were common just before President Ramos was elected. Back then I remembered accepting as a fact of life (I was an early stoic) that some nights I will be sleeping in a dark room with three other people (my parents and my sister) in a badly-ventilated room. Ayoko ng masikip, ayoko ng mainit, ayoko ng madilim!
I learned at an early age the etymology of bentilador. Curious things, electric fans. That was also a good way to teach children what electricity does to help people. An electric fan, as opposed to an abaniko or pamaypay, helps little children sleep during summer. I also became an adept on electric fans. One of the first time-wasters I learned was singing (or just shouting) in front of a slowly rotating fan. When visiting other peoples’ houses my eyes (and sweaty body) gravitated towards the cooling breeze. I cared about brands. I dreamed of owning a 3D (usually looking at old magazines and thinking, gusto ko ito). I cared enough to stick stationery stickers on our old Hitachi. I cursed electric fans that don’t turn. I remember begging an uncle to lend me his hand-held fan, run by batteries, and trying to stick this in body parts that were formerly alien to gentle breezes. I was amazed by my first encounter with a dehumidifier (looks like a tower fan with the ice box). Later, I was disgusted with the owner when I found that the ice box was full of mosquito larvae.
20 years after, I still owe a lot to electric fans. I have experienced comfort by air-conditioning systems, but I don’t think they will replace fans soon for me. For one thing, they are prohibitively expensive. I have this thing with open doors and windows, especially after having munggo for lunch and kamote for snacks. Another thing would be control. Especially when I’m power tripping, I want the fan to circulate the air only around me. Last, I want to be cool, not cold.
I wonder if people designed electric fans like they design TVs?
– Do you know brownouts are unique to Filipinos? Other people have blackouts, we have adobo-flavored power outages.
– A stunt my cousins and me frequently pulled was to stop electric fans with our fingers.