Today, in office buildings from sea to shining sea, men inevitably will be dealing with one of the most intractable problems known to nature. For it’s February, and that means we’re in the midst of the space heater season.
The problem is straightforward. The weather in February is awful and, worse, it’s unpredictable. Maintenance staffs across the land will have heated their buildings to a entirely reasonable baseline temperature given the prevailing conditions outside. For some people with two X chromosomes, however, that just isn’t good enough. They’re too hot, or they’re too cold. If they’re too hot, the windows get opened and cold air rushes in. If they’re too cold — which seems to be a far more common condition — the space heaters get deployed.
A normally constituted man walking from office to office might move from a pleasant 70 degrees to meat locker conditions to equatorial heat in the space of 50 feet. There is no way to dress properly for such conditions. And if you are required to actually sit in one of the space heater offices, good luck to you.
The space heater is humming, its heating coils are blazing, and you feel the sweat beginning to trickle down the back of your neck. Meanwhile the office’s occupant — who is probably wearing a sweater, to your amazement — yammers on, oblivious to the fact that conditions in their office are like those in the hot box used to punish disobedient prisoners of war in The Bridge on the River Kwai. In short order you are focused solely on that suffocating heat, face flushed and nodding absently to every word, trying desperately to bring the conversation to a close so you can retreat to areas of the building where normal conditions exist.
I don’t doubt that space heaters serve a useful function, but I’m glad when the space heater season finally ends.