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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!
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I Think My Toes Are Frozen… But My Fingers Are Toasty Warm!

I made a rather interesting discovery in my car yesterday.

And by ‘interesting‘, I really mean ‘annoying and inconvenient‘.

(I hope that doesn’t throw you off. I still mean ‘discovery’ when I say ‘discovery’, and ‘yesterday’ when I say ‘yesterday’. I wouldn’t screw with all the words in the sentence — that would just be rude. So rest assured that ‘I’ and ‘car’ are pretty much what you’re thinking of, too.

Unless you’re thinking that ‘I’ is you. That would be wrong. ‘I’ is me. You weren’t there. I checked.

Anyway, it’s just ‘interesting’ that’s filling in for other words. I just wanted to make sure we were clear. You may now return to your regularly scheduled blog entry.)

So what did I discover? Well. I’ll tell you.

(Really, that’s the whole damned point, now, isn’t it?)

My car’s heater / air conditioner has four speeds.

(That’s not what I discovered yesterday. I pretty much got the hang of the four-speed thing the first day I had the car.

Okay, fine. It took a couple of days to sink in. I got it in the first week, though. Don’t be pissy.)

In any case, four speeds. Air conditioning — four speeds. Heater — four speeds. Defrost? Four. Plain old fan? Four. One knob, four settings — ‘1 2 3 4’. Pretty standard, from what I’ve seen out there.

So, the discovery is this: sometime in the last two days, three of those speeds gave up the ghost. Just stopped working. Gave at the office, as it were. All I’ve got now is ‘4’. It’s gale-force wind, or it’s nothing. Hurricane force, or no breeze at all. On all the way, or all the way off.

I can’t tell you how fucking annoying this is.

Controlling the temperature in the car has suddenly become a lot like flying a lunar module. The rockets only fire at one speed, namely ‘Balls-Out Mega Super She-Canna-Take-Much-More-Cap’n High’. So adjustments get made with short bursts of the jets, which is really not the way you want to handle these sorts of things.

Take this afternoon, for instance. As I mentioned in my last post, I came home for lunch today. It was about forty degrees in Boston this afternoon. Here’s how the drive home went:

12:13pm: Reach car after six-block walk (because I have no parking at the office; don’t fucking get me started…)

12:16pm: Notice that heat built up from walk is frosting up cold windows. Turn on superheated plasma jets known as ‘Defrost, Speed 4’.

12:18pm: Windshield begins to melt. Interior of car reaches 231 degrees Fahrenheit. Turn defroster off.

12:29pm: Interior of car has equilibrated to outside temperature, which is approximately twelve degrees colder than the vacuum of deep space. Decide that a bit of heat may be in order.

12:30pm: Turn on heater at highest speed. Immediately blown backwards a la the fruitcake in that new Apple G5 commercial. Eyebrows are singed off immediately. Steering wheel warps visibly.

12:31pm: Scramble back to front seat and turn heater off. Dashboard is bubbling. Glove compartment is smoking. Temperature approaches that on the surface of the sun.

12:32pm: Get ‘bright’ idea to use fan to cool car interior off again. Turn on fan, also on setting ‘4’. Shirt is immediately blown off my body and is plastered to the rear windshield. Icicles form on the moonroof.

12:33pm: Turn air conditioner off. Decide to cut my losses and travel the rest of the way without additional ‘help’ from the climate control system.

12:38pm: Reach home. Eyebrows are history. Cheeks are windburned. Nipples are frostbitten. Car has depreciated several thousands of dollars in past half hour. I vow to never eat lunch or drive my car again.

Okay. Maybe it wasn’t that bad. I made a lot of that up.

(Though my nipples are extraordinarily sensitive this evening. Coincidence?)

Still, this all-or-nothing shit is not gonna get it done.

Besides the bother of constantly turning the damned thing on and off, it can hardly be salubrious, now, can it? From sauna to freezer, igloo to desert, the Arctic to Hurricane Alley — this can’t be good for my health. And goodness knows I don’t need any more help in running my body into the ground. I’m doing just fine on my own. Yeah, thanks.

So I suppose I’ll have to have this air circulationy thingamabob looked at soon. I just don’t think I can live like this much longer, particularly with winter coming on ‘hot and heavy’. Or, to be more accurate, ‘cold and clammy’. The last thing I need is a bout of the friggin’ flu because I can’t get comfortable in the car. Seriously, with just the ‘Wind Tunnel’ setting still functional, the temperature is where I want it for about six seconds every ten minutes. I get in the car, it’s thirty degrees. It rockets past sixty-five or so on the way to friggin’ ninety when I turn the heater or defroster on. When I turn them off, it plummets through the comfort zone back to freezing. I’m not sure what the hell I’m supposed to do.

So, if you see me driving along in a snowstorm with my windows down and my shirt off, you’ll know I haven’t gotten this fixed yet. I’m out there with the heater on, trying to find the magic mix of hot and cold and wind, so I can just set the damned thing and leave it alone. Next time, though, I’ll be prepared. I’ll have my sunblock on and my nipple-warmers at the ready. I’ll beat this thing, dammit. Just you watch.

Permalink  |  4 Comments

4 Responses to “I Think My Toes Are Frozen… But My Fingers Are Toasty Warm!”

  1. Andy says:

    On an unrelated note, judging by your sudden use of the words trichotillomania and salubrious, I have no choice but to conclude that we signed up for the MW Word of the Day on the exact same day.

    I’m not sure what that means, but it can’t good.

    My nipples have always been particularly sensitive…

  2. Buzz says:

    Jesus! This is one of the funniest things I’ve ever read! I tried to stifle my laughter here at work, but hten icky stuff came out of my nose so I had to just let out a laugh. I feel much better now.

  3. Faye says:

    Ok, second post I have read by you and my co workers definitly think I am out there. Cracking up over here man. I am past the point of shamefully snickering at my screen.

    I was in “Wind Tunnel Hell” in my little Escort. I hope you get it fixed!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hint: doesn’t change urls on you so that ‘salubrious’ ends up meaning ‘telegraphese’.

    Also, nipple warmers??

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