Chillin’ Out

What is the opposite of summertime heat?  I’ll tell you.  The opposite of summertime heat is cranked-up air conditioning.  Why do office buildings feel that they have to use every technology available to lower our body temperatures to the extreme?  I am thankful that I do not have to toil and sweat at my computer in 95 degree weather, but do I need to be some sort of experiment gone wrong for cryogenics?  Let’s look at Wikipedia’s definition:

Cryogenics:  In physics, cryogenics is the study of the production of very low temperature (below −150 °C, −238 °F or 123 K) and the behavior of materials at those temperatures. A person who studies elements under extremely cold temperature is called a cryogenicist. Rather than the familiar temperature scales of Celsius and Fahrenheit, cryogenicists use the Kelvin scale (formerly also Rankine scale).

Notice the phrase “…and the behavior of materials at those temperatures.”  I cannot function when I’m so darn cold that my breasts are primed for a Russ Meyer film.  (Okay, this is an archaic reference, so I’ll leave it to you to look it up).  My coworker has a space heater under her desk.  I had to sit outside for a half hour yesterday just to get my body temp back to normal.  It’s totally ludicrous to think that excessive cold is a suitable environment for most daily activities.  How about just setting the thermostat for 76 degrees instead of 66 degrees?

At home, we try to use the air conditioning as little as possible.  This is not because we are cheap, but because we don’t like being entombed in our house.  We usually set the thermostat to 76 degrees, just so we’re comfortable but not freezing.  Even if it’s hot outside I still prefer to sit on the deck in the evening and enjoy the warm summer air. 

I do believe that all of this air conditioning is changing our biological profile.  More and more people can’t tolerate the slightest bit of heat because they have grown so accustomed to the artificial environments of their homes and offices.  I spent all of my summers at camp, rain or shine.  When it was really hot we had double swim in the afternoon and extra juice breaks, but we were not ushered into an air-conditioned room to cool off.  We were expected to tolerate the heat, work up a sweat, and deal with it as we would any other slightly less than optimal condition.  I’m still alive for all of the heat, sweat, and non-air conditioned experiences I’ve encountered, and I feel I’m better adjusted physically for not being so dependent on an ice cold sanctuary as an escape route.

Let’s throw open a window, enjoy a cool evening breeze, take a sip of lemonade and delight in the fact that when it’s warm outside, it warms up our souls as well.

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One Response to Chillin’ Out

  1. Karen Lynch-Schirra says:

    I love a/c, but would prefer a nice, mild day in the low-to-mid ’70s with the windows open and a gentle breeze coming through. I’d rather have it cooler in the office, but not to the point where your fingers practically freeze and you can’t use your keyboard without a ton of mistakes.

    Joy Behar, TV host and commedienne, made an observation some time back. She was commenting on how people don’t really know their neighbors or what is going on in the neighborhood and it all started with more households being able to afford at least a window a/c, with whole-house a/c making it worse. People no longer sat out on their porch or stoop to get a break from the heat inside the house and the fans simply circulating the hot air. Excellent point! I still don’t want to give up my a/c.

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