Michaela Merz

The USA and its air-conditioning

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I’m back home from my trip through Florida. It was the coldest January for 29 years. There was snow, the iguanas fell from the trees because of the cold, the sea-cows, sensitive to the cold, sought out protected bays and thronged in large quantities in very small spaces to keep warm. But still all the air-conditioners were running at full blast. I have never understood this, but I would be extremely grateful if some-one could explain why. Why are the rooms in restaurants, hotels, theatres, congress centres cooled down to a temperature, where its scarcely possible to feel comfortable? Or perhaps I’m the exception and the majority of Americans like wrapping themselves up tight in order to be able to survive a few hours motionless and, not like the iguanas, fall from their chairs? Or perhaps the Americans are used to low temperatures from their childhood or perhaps the cold is the epitome of wealth? I don’t know.

I have observed this everywhere and experienced it in all the cities I have visited – New York, Boston, Washington, Saratoga, Miami, San Francisco and so on. The room temperature varies between 13 and 16 degrees centigrade. There can be no thought of summer clothes. It was amazing to observe the visitors to one of the most expensive restaurants in Miami Beach. The doors open spot on 7 pm. No-one is allowed in earlier. You wait in front of the entrance in a crowd until it has struck 7. A few ladies are dressed in a breath of nothing – summer dreams of clothes – outside it is after all still almost 19 degrees despite it being January. The majority are however very well dressed.

The temperature in the restaurant is extremely low – I wouldn’t even dare to guess how low – and the ceiling is full of ducts, which blow in cold air mercilessly and non-stop. After 10 minutes I have got cold and I was wearing long trousers and a pullover. Some wore a jacket for dinner and two ladies had come with winter caps and kept them on. How I yearned for such a cap at that moment. What clothing would have given me an optimal body feeling? Probably a scarf, a cap and another pullover. And please don’t think that I’m a „freezer“. I’m not! That day I had swum in the sea and it was wonderful – after all the water temperature was higher than the air temperature. But perhaps the restaurants don’t want their guests to remain seated comfortably. They should eat and leave as quickly as possible. The more people use the same table in an evening, the higher the turnover.

In conclusion a recommendation I have:

If you travel to the USA, please pack a warm cap, a scarf and a thick pullover – regardless of the season. Believe me, you will make good use of them.

One thought on “The USA and its air-conditioning

  1. I love the image of the (cold, motionless) audience falling like Iguanas frim their chairs! That would be a sight to see. Thanks for the tip – will pack my thermals when I go to Tennessee in June!

    Like

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