That F*cking Air Conditioner

By Maria Pianelli


Perfect representation… of August.

There’s a war at my office. And it’s not a war of words or a schism with clients. Rather, there’s a constant shift between unsettling iciness and raging hellfire.

Because of all things in the PR world, who knew room temperature was what folks were most passionate about.

Shortly after I started, it became quite clear who played for what team. The heat freaks huddled in grandiose blankets, shrouding themselves in layers of sweatshirts, sweaters and snuggies and making a point to shudder violently whenever in the vicinity of another.

The Eskimos returned the favor, leaping to yank open every window and taking frequent treks to Starbucks, returning pointedly with icy beverages in hand.

Now at our old office, these impassioned displays of preference were as far as things went, as our super controlled the temperature. But at our new location, the thermostat is open season. And while my coworkers try to keep the dramatic shifting of seasons to a minimum, I often don’t know what I’m walking into. So to avoid shivering ’til I catch a cold or having my throat feel like I swallowed sandpaper, I’ve learned it’s best to be prepared for all the elements.

Here’s how.

1. Keep a cardigan or two at your desk. Regardless of the temperature, this should be a given because let’s say you decided to wear (unbeknownst to you) a see-through shirt the day your biggest client drops in. Or you spill ketchup right on the breast of your crisp white top. Backup sweaters are a must have in any office and can really save your ass on the days your teeth are chattering too much to work (which is a thing).

2. If you have contacts, solution is a must. To be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of blasting the heat in the winter. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Leo who loves all things summer, but offices have the habit of thinking artificial heat replicates the sun, when all it really does is dry out your skin, give you a headache and make wearing contact lens absolute hell. When those babies dry up in your eyes, that’s it, game over, nothing’s getting done… Unless you invested in eye drops or saline solution. While it’s a pain to keep applying, these godsends have boosted both my productivity and will to live and are, quite frankly, unsung office heroes.

3. Curel. Let’s be real. No one likes feeling like a lizard and rough skin is quite unbecoming in the winter. So if you’re an office that likes blasting the heat, do yourself a solid and keep a tube of this on your desk.

4. An extra pair of socks. Hear me out on this one. If it’s a miserable rainy day and Mother Nature does a standup job of saturating your shoes, tights and sorry excuse for anklets, nothing is worse than walking into the freezing cold conference room and feeling like your toes are going to fall off. No. Don’t stand for it. Stay prepared with an extra pair of dry, fluffy socks, because no one likes frostbite.

As to where I stand on this timeless debate?

Away from the vents.

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