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1999.10.24 90 over 70... Degrees

posted Mar 26, 2010, 6:02 AM by Troy Cheek   [ updated Mar 26, 2010, 6:19 AM ]

In spite of the title, this rant doesn't have anything to do with my blood pressure. Not directly, anyway. My blood pressure generally runs so high that a reading of 90 over 70 would be discarded as instrument error. Battles over the thermostat do raise my blood pressure a little, I suppose, so maybe the title does have something to do with my blood pressure after all.

The facts that I'm overweight, diabetic, have high blood pressure, and am blessed with a metabolism similar to that of a hummingbird all combine to mean that I'm comfortable at temperatures that most people find frigid. Naturally, I'm constantly at odds with the people around me about what "room temperature" should actually be. I'm used to that and it doesn't bother me.

Much.

What bothers me are people who want to run the air conditioning full blast all summer, bringing the temperature down to 60 or so, then turn around and run the heat full blast all winter, bringing the temp up to 90 or so. I mean, think about it. If you can't handle 85 in the summer, why does it feel like heaven in the middle of winter?

During highschool I remember wearing a flannel shirt (long before such things came into style) on cool days, maybe with my old denim vest over it (which never came into style). I was quite comfortable standing by the road waiting for the bus, quite comfortable in the auditorium before classes started, and mostly comfortable in the classrooms.

Except for one teacher who liked to keep her class room temperature somewhere between "tropical" and "broil." In her class, I'd sit in the back row. When she wasn't looking, I'd open the windows. On a good day, I could just about stop sweating before she noticed and made me close them. I'd open them again as soon as I thought I could get away with it.

I didn't mind getting sent to the principal's office. He kept it nice and cool all year round. I wonder how many other juvenile delinquents he saw were really just protesting the thermostat settings.

I dropped in to visit some friends the other day. Being a typical summer day, I was dressed in my usual T-shirt and shorts. It was warm outside, and the air conditioning in my car never did work. I was fairly comfortable on the drive over. As soon as I stepped into the house, however, I knew I'd made a mistake. I shivered a little as I scraped the frozen sweat off my brow.

"Come on in," said Barb's voice. I couldn't see Barb for the condensation of my breath in front of me. It made quiet little tinkling noises as it fell down to the carpet. "Shut the door, silly! You're letting the cool out." She bounced by me wearing the skimpiest of shorts and a halter top. I stared. I had never before noticed that little mole on her... Well, never mind.

I skated over to the couch, where Bob sat sipping hot chocolate, snug in his parka. He handed me a blanket and a mug. "Your wife has a nice tan this year," I said as neutrally as I could.

"Ayep," Bob replied. "She's been going to the tanning salon all summer long. It's costing me a fortune, but she says she needs her healthy glow." He sighed. "You'd see a lot more of it, but she put on her modest clothes because she thought you were the air conditioner repair guy."

I didn't think I could stand to see much more of Barb's tan. I kept repeating to myself that they were happily married. "Your air conditioning seems to be working fine to me," I said through chattering teeth.

"Oh, the mechanism is fine. It's just that I kinda accidentally on purpose broke off the knob and she can't set the temperature any lower than this."

"This" appeared to be about the freezing point of nitrogen.

Barb had a kitchen knife and was scraping frost off the inside of the window. She peered out myopically. "You guys tell me when he gets here," she instructed us. "I don't want to miss him."

After she left the room, Bob turned to me. "I can't understand her metabolism," he said. "All summer long, she has to run the air conditioning full blast. About October, though, she's going to start running the heat full blast. Remember last Fall?"

"Do I?" I gushed. "After I visited for Thanksgiving I had to stop at the hospital and be treated for dehydration. And remember Christmas?"

Bob rolled his eyes. "Who can forget a Christmas when the fire department comes to visit? The attic got so hot the insulation started smoldering and the neighbors called 911."

"Good thing they did," I countered. "I think your mother was having a heat stroke."

We sat remembering as we chipped the last of the frozen chocolate from our mugs, listening to the howl of the timber wolves as they hunted the back hallway. Suddenly, I heard the sound of a cow bell ringing.

RINGALINGALINGALINGALING!

"What's that?," I asked.

Bob got up. "That's our special emergency signal. You'd better go. She doesn't like people seeing her like this."

"Like what?"

Bob grinned. "I think her butt is frozen to the toilet seat again."

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