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Georgia summers too often lead to air conditioner overcompensation

September, at last!

I am so thankful for at least the empty promise of an 86-degree high, some relief from these temperature extremes, because I can't stand this cold a day longer.

That's right, I said cold. And you know exactly what I mean because you've chattered your discomfort in unison with mine. You've shivered in those same frozen restaurants and offices.

These buildings are managed by melted souls who drag in from the sun and with a sweat-drenched hand turn the thermostat down below 72, below Popsicle, and down below those tropical double-digits. They then chip off the tab on the regulator, just to guarantee that no unreasonable person can restore the room to the feverish 40s.

Folks, I know that it's hot in Georgia this time of year, and I've been told that it's even hotter this year. Dozens of folks from age 20 to multiples of that number have told me, rather emphatically, that this is the hottest summer they remember.

Many have said that they prefer the cold because at least they can put on more layers of clothes for the cold, but they can't adjust their clothing enough to compensate for the heat.

The temperature solution should not involve turning the air-conditioning down to the permafrost mark. And yet it happens.

I've walked out of the heat and into office areas, and have had to scurry back out to the heat. Sometimes, the adjustment is just too much.

Here's an even sadder story that will force you to shed a frozen tear. Several of the Thomson press corps waited in a hallway for about 90 minutes recently while the hospital board closed the doors for confidential discussions. That precaution also kept the caribou and glacier off the boardroom carpet. Can you picture four reporters almost huddled in a corner?

It was so cold that a hospital employee even fetched some blankets. Another offered to make coffee -- for reporters. I wish I had a photo of The Frozen Four, because that picture of shivering newsies would have brought cheer to the hearts of lawyers everywhere.

Now, I'm not a temperature snob. In fact, I would describe myself as eurythermous. Look it up. It means: a very long word you only get to use once in your lifetime.

I've been so cold that I didn't realize what became of the stray pellet that penetrated my hunting jacket. And I never tire of telling that story to bewildered X-ray technicians.

I've been so cold that my shoes froze to the schoolbus floor, so cold that I was thrilled to crawl back out of the river and onto the ice. But I never gave in to this compulsion to overcompensate.

I've never turned the thermostat up to volcano. And so I do not understand this need to set the temperature so low that customers grab sweaters.

My wife and I stepped out of the August heat and into a cold restaurant last week. Soon, we needed coffee refills. And we waited, and we waited. At last, the waitress returned with the coffee. "I'm sorry for the wait," she said. "I was out back warming up."

Like her, I'm grateful for 86-degree highs.

I'm so grateful that it gives me a warm feeling.

Not that warm, mind you. Please do not crank up the air.

Web posted on Thursday, September 08, 2011

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