My face has this tendency to turn red after I’ve been out in the heat for a while. Bright red. Oh-my-god-are-you-ok-red. I don’t know why, because I don’t feel that hot. But apparently my face thinks otherwise.

So when I need to drive somewhere in the summertime that’s more than 5-10 minutes away, strangers at my destination will sometimes ask me if I’m ok.

“Yes,” I’ll say, “I’m fine.”

Then they’ll go on to point out that my face is all red, so I’ll tell them that I’m just a little hot because I’ve been driving around without AC.

Usually the responses go something like this:

“No AC!? I could never do that!”

“Oh, bless your heart.”

“You poor thing, hope you can get it fixed soon.”

“My AC broke once. It was awful.”

“Ugh, how can you stand it?”

Now it’s not a big deal to me, and I tell them so.

But I had the usual are-you-ok type conversation again last week with someone, and their response jumped out at me because it was so atypical:

“Oh,” they said, “Well at least you have a car! You’re lucky.”

“Yup,” I replied.

That was the first person who has EVER had a positive response to what I’d said.

Ever!

I have been thinking about what that person said all week. First, they are a person I’d love to get to know better. Clearly they see things in a positive way. Second, in the years of people responding negatively to me about the no AC thing, somehow this is the first time I’ve realized that people WERE responding negatively. I think in the future I’ll leave the explanation at “I’m just a little hot” and see how that goes. Because really, what does the AC have to do with it?

Finally, I think this is a good wake up call for our lives, financial and otherwise. Most of us are very, VERY well off, even if we are dealing with owing money, trying to keep the lights on, or not having the cash to run out and buy the latest doo-dad on a whim.

We have access to a computer that’s likely to be in a climate-controlled building, and we have the ability to read — meaning that we had the leisure time to learn, and that we probably attended school. Those things right there are signs of extreme wealth. And keeping (or getting!) a positive perspective can change your life for the better.