At 23 years old and a calendar year into post-college adulthood, i.e. severe “underemployment” and living with various parental figures, I, along side my girlfriend of four years, decided to pack and move 1,600 miles away from our small midwestern town to sunny Los Angeles, California, and chase our wildest dreams! Typical story right? She wanted to be a yoga teacher to bring joy into people’s lives. I wanted to be a comedian and writer with a cynical tone. Opposites really do attract apparently, but I digress.
There couldn’t be a better spot for a couple with dreams like these to flock to and both find shining success. However, a little over two months into our move I’ve discovered there’s something hanging over our heads far more terrifying than taking on the big City of Lights–our ceiling fan.
Let me back up a little further. Living in a small Midwest town, my girlfriend and I had the luxury of affording things we could only dream of having out here. We lived together in college (before graduating and moving back in with our parents), and on two part time job incomes, we had an apartment twice the size of what we live in in Los Angeles, and an air conditioner that we never had to turn off.
Fast forward back to our lives here in Los Angeles and we’ve heard all the stereotypical thoughts and questions: “Los Angeles is so expensive!” “No matter what your salary is, you’re going to have to live with roommates.” “Can you afford anything?”
In response to these statements my thoughts are “We know,” “Not necessarily,” and “No.” We knew the risk we ran moving here (without any employment or leads mind you), but we wanted to be alone once again after the year of slumming with our parents. Thus, we found a tiny one bedroom apartment and we’re making it work without having to live with roommates. These risks and sacrifices are the reason we cannot in fact afford much of anything aside from rent. *cough* air conditioning *cough* is for millionaires apparently *cough*
OKAY–so, this leads us back to the terrifying reality I’ve come to know as the ceiling fan. With so little funding to go around and the stuffy conditions a tiny Los Angeles apartment render in the heat of the summer, we have but one choice to keep our quarters cool: open every window we’ve got and leave the two separate ceiling fans running on a continual spin throughout the day. To be clear, since moving in, we’ve yet to close a window or turn off a fan. Mind you, one of the fans resides in the kitchen area and is of little concern to me, but the other is situated directly above our bed–ON MY SIDE.
Now, as a lowly freelance writer and media obsessed millennial, I know little about the workings of science or the mechanics of basic household items and electricities. So, after two months of nonstop spinning I’ve begun to fear the ceiling fan will be the cause of my untimely death. I nestle into bed every evening after a long day in front of the computer typing my little fingers away and crying – because my eyes hurt from staring at a screen for 10 hours straight, and because of the soul-crushing reality of the job market I’m trying to break into. Nevertheless, I’m exhausted and ready for bed. Unfortunately, sleep is something I will be getting little of.
It begins with my initial thought of, “I wonder how hot that fan is?” I understand that it’s cooling the air around me, but that thing has been going for 60+ days straight now–on HIGH–so, mechanical things get hot right? I begin to worry it’s causing damage to the sanctity of the ceiling. “I don’t have renter’s insurance,” I say to myself, “I need to turn this thing off!” Nay, the air is so cool, and the comfort of my bed (mattress on the floor) is incredibly cozy. Plus, it’s a long way to get up off the floor if I’m just being honest.
Not to worry, I’ll just let it keep spinning, because nothing has happened in these few months, so maybe nothing will happen tonight either. I begin to drift off to sleep, but my dreams are no less fearful of the faltering fan. It starts off lucidly as I think the motor in the fan (fans have motors, right?) is getting super hot. I toss and turn telling myself the fan is fine and the motor isn’t going to do anything. I start to cringe at the thought of the fan tumbling down after my refusal to turn it off for months at time and smashing my legs and body while I’m fast asleep. This fan is going to be the end of me I just know it – ZZZZZZZZZ…
I’ve finally entered the R.E.M. stage of sleep, and the fan no longer has a stronghold over me. I begin to dream. I’m in the middle of a jungle. I’m a soldier fearing flying aircrafts overhead. The aircraft? You guessed it: a helicopter.
I’m running and running as fast as I can, but the chopper wants me dead (because fans have motors and helicopters have a conscious). It begins toppling toward me and the terrain. I come to a cliff and have no choice but to dive off as the helicopter explodes on the ground behind me. Mid-free fall I jolt awake. Instead of 60 feet below a fiery explosion in a canyon, I’m six inches below my mattress on the floor. I look up and the ceiling fan is in fact still in tact.
A quick peek at my phone reveals it is but 2 AM and I need to get some sleep, so I stay in character of my dreamed up soldier figure. With squinted eyes and a raspy tone of voice I whisper to myself, “Until we meet again fan, until we meet again.”