In Cold War, There Are No In Betweens


It's a hot one.

It's a hot one because the TV weather guy says it's a hot one.

If it were not a hot one, then the TV weather guy would switch gears and say:

It's a cold one, or it's a wet one or, if he were feeling particularly saucy, it's a wild one.

You can say what you want about TV weather guys, but they're versatile.

Some people think TV weather guys tend to overstate the obvious.

But I think if TV weather guys did not tell us what kind of "one" it is, we would be at a loss.

This is particularly true when it is a hot one, because when it is a hot one, we don't go outside.

Rather, we go from our air-conditioned homes to our air-conditioned cars to our air-conditioned offices to our air-conditioned malls--and even to our air-conditioned ballparks.

Many people think this is just fine.

I don't.

I think air-conditioning is out of control.

I think we have gone from being air-conditioned to over-conditioned.

I think we have gotten to a point where if we can't see our breath we think we've wandered into a production of "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof."

I think when it's warm out, you are supposed to be warm.

And, finally, I think summer is why God gave us armpits.

Aside from its omnipresence, the other major problem I have with air-conditioning is that it is a technology that has never been mastered.

For some reason, engineers are able to heat air to most everybody's satisfaction but not cool it.

In reality, air-conditioning systems have two settings:

Not working.

And meat packing.

There is no in between.

Men with little screwdrivers spend their entire lives probing wall thermostats searching for some mythical middle range. But it doesn't exist.This is particularly true in crowded environments.

With the possible exception of sides of beef, no two inhabitants sharing a common space are ever able to agree on what temperature is comfortable.In an office setting, this can lead to friction or, perhaps more accurately, cold fusion.

Bosses, of course, are no help because:

One, bosses have their own offices and their own thermostats.

And, two, bosses are always chilly.

So it is left to the shivering, or sweltering, masses to decide. And how do they do this?

Consensus? Majority rule? Compromise?

Try hand-to-hand combat, conspiracy, intimidation and, perhaps the most effective means of all, whining. Which explains why when you walk into your average over-conditioned office, you will find half the work force sleeveless, half the work force in sweaters and a couple of people in snorkel parkas.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World