Florida vs Germany: Air Conditioning

As someone who grew up in Florida, I've always known life with air conditioning. In Florida, it's a practical requirement, given how hot and humid it is for most of the year. When I moved to Europe a year ago, I expected to find less AC. What I didn't expect was to find a completely opposite attitude towards it.
Air Conditioning units - Source
If you haven't read Adam Fletcher's "How to be German in 50 easy steps" I highly recommend getting the eBook, it's a hilarious read. One thing he notes is how Germans will always want the windows opened, even in winter. It was even funnier by the fact that it's true. One of the first things I noticed here is how everyone always wants to open the windows, and recommends doing so every day, even on freezing winter days.

My office has a central air conditioning system. While it has its problems (it rarely works), my German colleagues are quite annoyed at having it on. They tell me that "it dries the air out" and it's "unhealthy". Reading online, you'll find many people who think it's a waste of energy, or that recycling the air somehow is very bad. Ask to turn on the AC and you'll get a response of "ehh... naja... okay", which is a polite way of saying "Okay, if you really want to, but you'll reduce our collective lifespans and poison the environment".

All of this completely goes against what I learned growing up in Florida. Air conditioning is a life source. If the air conditioner breaks, it's important to quickly call the mechanics to fix it. If you tell someone you turned off the air conditioner for a day, you'll get strange, concerned looks. After all, without air conditioning, the humidity levels spike and you get mold. Bad mold. So it's not uncommon to find most places running the air conditioners on pretty hard, enough to need a sweater to go INSIDE... in the middle of a 36C spring day.

It's amusing to reconcile the mentality that I've been conditioned (pardon the pun) for almost my entire life of needing AC with the German/Northern European mindset of relying on it as little as possible, even on gruling hot, 30+C summer days. For now, I still scratch my head and try to find nice air-conditioned places on these hot days. But I can already see that I'm accepting the fact that I'll just need to open the windows, use a fan, or go to a lake when it's hot out, and that maybe air conditioners are demonic devices meant to hurt you.

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