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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA



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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

Out of the Frying Pan…

…and into the freezer. Shiver. Rinse. Repeat.

With winter finally gripping New England by the short and frigid curlies, I’m faced with a dilemma. It has to do with my office at work. My sweltering office.

Every day this week, I’ve gotten out of bed, showered, shaved, and stood dripping in a towel by my computer, looking up the predicted temperature range for the day. And every day, the forecast has included sub-fifty degree temperatures, driving rain, or both.

(That’s fifty degrees Fahrenheit, for my ‘continental’ friends out there. I readily admit that a one hundred degree-based system makes more sense. And I realize that if it were fifty degrees centigrade, I’d have much larger temperature issues. Like my sneakers melting to my feet.

I just choose not to care right now. I’m telling a story here.)

“Yesterday afternoon, I smelled something burning; it was either my officemate’s monitor overheating or my hair catching fire.”

The point is, I’ve had to dress for the weather the past few days. It’s not exactly ‘thermals and winter coat and fuzzy wool noseplugs’ weather, but I’m not walking around in short shorts and sandals, either. Partly because that ensemble went out of style a few decades ago. Partly because I’d scare the bejeesus out of the neighborhood kids in that getup. But mostly because, in this weather, I’d need a periscope and a set of salad tongs to find my testicles again.

So I bundle up, a bit. Denim jeans. A sturdy pair of socks. A warm long-sleeved rugby. And snuggled in the middle of that ensemble, I’m comfortable — in the house, outside, in the car, I’m good.

Until I get to my office.

My office is filled with lots of stuff. There’s my desk, and the desk of the girl with whom I share the room. There’s some sort of scraggly houseplant of unknown pedigree. There’s a file cabinet, and a bookshelf, and the dented spot on the carpet under my desk where I hold my head in my hands and cry most days. There’s the thermostat by the door. And then, there’s the sunlight.

The entire half of the room housing my officemate’s desk is windowed. Two sides of the room transparent, fifteen floors above ground, with no tall buildings nearby. While that does give our workspace a positively breathtaking view of the blocky hospital buildings and dingy lowrise brownstones nearby, it also allows a barrage of sunlight to bombard the room, from dawn till dusk.

And since the thermostat I mentioned doesn’t actually work, that means the office temperature routinely soars into the eighties. This time, I just might mean centigrade. Yesterday afternoon, I smelled something burning; it was either my officemate’s monitor overheating or my hair catching fire. Either way, it worried me a little. And made me hungry. For hair. Not good.

With December looming, it’s only going to get worse. It’s bad enough wearing long sleeves into a sauna every morning; in a couple of months, I’ll be sweating under earmuffs and a Gore-Tek parka. The deepest cut of all is that damned useless thermostat; why tease us with relief when there’s none to be had? I’ve turned that bastard down to eight-and-a-half degrees, and what did it get me? Two armpit stains and sweat on my keyboard. Thermostat, schermostat.

So I’ve decided to do the only sensible thing. Those short shorts and sandals? Well, fashion be damned. For the next six months, I’m wearing them underneath my winter gear, and stripping down when I hit the office. That should save the neighborhood kids from having to see it, at least — and maybe it’ll get be un-invited to some of those marathon staff meetings, too.

Plus, if I angle my chair right, I’ll be ready to hit the beach with a nearly-all-over tan come June. Sounds like a win-win to me.

Well, for everyone except my officemate, of course. Hey, somebody has to make a sacrifice here. Poor girl.

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