Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Gender-based Thermostat Wars

Actually, there's two issues to discuss here. 

My wife and I have different internal thermostats. I'm cold-blooded. When she's gone, I set the thermostat (air-conditioning) to 82-degrees. I'm comfortable. She comes home—granted, it's evening and the hottest part of the day, especially in our house, with an unshaded western exposure—and she wants 76-degrees.

We compromise. We set the thermostat at 76-degrees.

Apparently, it's the opposite of the gender-norm, according to Slate. Women usually prefer the warmer settings.

It's not a big deal for me. I'm flexible. And I own a thermal vest. What does bother me, and is in fact a consistent, "Can you turn that off!, is her use of the vehicle air-conditioning. I'm going to start carrying a sweater in the van. I suppose I could put on the jacket I have there now—see below.

This brings me to the second point: public air-conditioning. Why is it so bloody cold? I often check thermostats when I'm out—and freezing—and it's not uncommon to see them set at 70-degrees. It's gotten so that I always take a jacket if we intend to enter any public facility, especially a mall or a hospital.

I once asked a doctor why hospitals were kept so chilly, and she told me it was to retard bacterial growth. It's boggling to me that the difference between 68-degrees and 75-degrees influences the speed of bacterial growth, but I suppose it is possible. After all, water boils at a specific temperature. Why shouldn't MRSA need the perfect temperature to accomplish its nasty desires?

If that is a fact, I can understand a hospital's desire to maintain a cooler temperature. However, that makes it counter-intuitive that I was brought a hot-air heater that vented under the covers recently when I had a minor surgical procedure. Perhaps it was the intent to keep the hospital sterile while under the blankets I provided a petri-dish experiment for the scrub-down procedures in the surgical suite.

I might be convinced of the necessity of cooler temperatures in healthcare facilities, but what doesn't make sense is the idea that multi-thousand square foot shopping sites spend so much extra money attempting to cool the interior environment down to the level that it's possible to store meat without spoilage. 

I've asked about that, as well. The consensus seems to be that it's an effort on the part of corporate America to stir the pot—to keep the raw material (consumers and their wallets) moving throughout all the available venues.

That may be so. All it does for me, however, is convince me to shop on-line. Of course, I need to do that before my wife gets home and lowers the thermostat.

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