Today two things have been bugging me at work: environmental sound, and heat. The first, first: my co-workers' chitchat always makes it sound like a henhouse around here, but today it all seemed louder, punchier. It was almost as if they'd gone from chatting to hollering. Then I noticed I was sweating, but figured it was just because I was drinking hot tea. Then we got the official word that the air conditioning in our big fancy modern office complex is busted.
This got me thinking about an essay I read once (who knows where) about how we use air conditioning not only to cool ourselves, but to define our territory. Air-conditioned space isn't just space; it's property. Air conditioning dampens sound. It carves out a place which is distinct from open air.
My apartment's air conditioner has been busted for years. I use a fan and usually feel fine. Perhaps having a less comprehensive method of cooling my air has made me feel more in touch with life outside my solipsistic self.