Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Random Rants: Extreme Air Conditioning

There are some things about summer I will never understand. At the top of my list would be air conditioning.

I’m not saying that I don’t believe in air conditioning. I definitely do. In fact, if you read back in my blog to almost exactly a year ago, my air conditioning died during a very hot period. My whining and moaning definitely indicates that air conditioning is pretty much a necessity when it’s 95 degrees outside and the humidity is high.

No, what I am saying is that I don’t understand Extreme Air Conditioning.

I’m sure you know what I mean. Extreme air conditioning is when you’re coming in from the sultry outdoors and within seconds, you already have goosepimples.

Extreme air conditioning is when you’re sitting in your office and your fingers are numb from typing. Then, when it’s finally time to leave, your hot, greenhouse effected car feels wonderful as you slowly begin to thaw.

I don’t understand it. As I said above, I’m a firm believer in air conditioning. I like to be comfortable. Who doesn’t?

However, Extreme Air Conditioning is not pleasant. I don’t think it’s necessary. Yet, it’s everywhere. If you go to the mall, the cold air feels great at first. Then, once your body has cooled down comfortably, the freezing cold air continues to cool your body down until you’re suddenly regretting not remembering to wear your thermal underwear in the middle of summer.

You should not be longing for a scarf and jacket when you’re already wearing a light sweater. I find this usually occurs in movie theatres. Having been frozen like an icicle several times while watching movies in the theatre, I’ve learned my lesson and, as a rule, I try to take a cardigan or light jacket with me to avoid completely freezing. However, when you find yourself STILL shivering with the sweater or jacket on when it’s almost 100 degrees outside, there’s something not quite right there.

My theory has lately been that malls and movie theatres crank up the air conditioning to cater for the crowds of people that they expect. Crowds of people generally make a place hot and stuff. Thus, to account for this potential, they crank up the AC and thus you have Extreme Air Conditioning.

The thing is that I still find myself shivering in Extreme Air Conditioning even when there are crowds around. Granted, there will always be those pockets in the mall where it gets hot. I find this most often in those malls with skylights that let the sun stream in. These places get hot. However, the rest of the mall still resembles being on the inside of a refrigerator. I’ve wondered if they have it automatically set to a certain temperature and it kicks on much more quickly because of these skylit hotspots. Yet, since these hot spots remain hot and the rest of the mall feels like you’re about to go visit Santa at the North Pole, this theory doesn’t really hold water.
I’ve been experiencing Extreme Air Conditioning at work this week. I’ve mentioned our thermostat wars before. Well, lately, since it’s been hot outside, the thermostat has been cranked to allow for Extreme Air Conditioning. Since I quite like feeling my fingers when I type, sometimes I try to turn the air conditioning down just a little. This will inevitably lead to my next door neighbour/account manager suddenly yelling “HOT!” at the top of her lungs.

She does this a lot. Very occasionally, she shouts “COLD!” but more often it’s “HOT!” She also gets “HUNGRY” and “TIRED”. I’m not sure why she has to yell so we all know but, well, that’s her way.

Interestingly, she’s usually the only “HOT!” person. Yet, somehow, she usually wins. All I have to do is go to the bathroom and when I get back to my office, the air is suspiciously growing colder by the second.

I suppose Extreme Air Conditioning really is relative to a person’s normal body temperature. I’d say that perhaps I tend to just run colder than everyone else which is why I sit in my office shivering but the truth is I’m not the only one. I’ve been told to wear a sweater but, well, it’s summer. I shouldn’t have to wear a sweater to be comfortable in my office.

No, the truth of the matter is that I personally believe that air conditioning is intended to make the room comfortable. Honestly, I think it should just cool the room to a comfortable liveable temperature. Generally speaking, when it’s 75-78 degrees outside and it’s not humid, we consider that to be a perfect temperature. So, why is it indoors where there’s nowhere for the cold air to go but sit between the four walls that Extreme Air Conditioning Enthusiasts decide that 64 degrees is an acceptable indoor temperature?

No. It is not an acceptable temperature. An acceptable INDOOR temperature is when you can wear traditional seasonal attire without being uncomfortable. This goes for winter as well. There is also the case of Extreme Heating in winter. To summarize Extreme Heating basically that boils down to you needing to shed almost every layer of clothing you’re wearing because you’re sweating indoors while it’s below zero outside.

Thus, in summer, I wear t-shirts, short sleeve blouses and capris with open-toed shoes. While I’m inside, my feet should not feel like blocks of ice. My arms should not be covered with little goosebumps and my fingers should not be numb. Just as in winter, if I’m wearing sweaters and boots, I should not be wanting to peel off everything because the heat is cranked high. Now, if I’m wearing the capris in the winter and I’m cold, that’s my own fault because, well, it’s winter. Likewise, if I’m wearing a thick sweater in summer, it’s my own fault because I’m too hot. At no time should I feel I have the right to make everyone else freeze to death because I made a poor wardrobe choice.

Thus, I go back to my original statement: I do not understand Extreme Air Conditioning. It’s rather silly to wish you’d brought a pair of socks to work because your feet are cold. Also, it’s distracting because I find when directly affected by Extreme Air Conditioning, I spend much more time focusing on the fact that my nose is running, my toes are numb and I can barely feel my fingers than I do working.

I’d like to advocate that thermostats not be made to go below 68 degrees and above 79 degrees, please.

Ok. Rant over. Thanks for reading. Here’s hoping you’re not freezing while you’re doing so.

Happy Thursday!

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