Wednesday, September 03, 2008

War of the Weather

Finally we're headed out of the molten clutch of summer here. Praise be to Krishna and Allah and whatnot. I got off easy this year, as the temperature in Canada during my three plus week long visit was pretty fine indeed. I could've done without the cloud cover and crazy-ass storms, but still shan't complain. Summer back in Korea was its usual thick slice of humid with a side order of hot and sweaty. Yuck. Now we're in transition, though - where the nights cool off enough to make you go "ahhhhhh," and you can sleep with the windows open and maybe even throw part of a blanket over part of your body. The days, however, are still "up there" temperature-wise. I don't consider 29 degrees with 96% humidity to be comfortable weather by any means.

It's after September 1st now, which means that the alarms go off in my co-worker's heads that now is the time for the permanent turning off of the air-conditioner. It's driving me mental. We've got more teachers than we've had in ages because the new boss and the old boss are still hanging around the school. (Today is Karen's last day, though - which makes me pretty bummed out.) So there are too many bodies in the Staff Room, which has no windows and two air conditioning vents. Teachers who aren't actually teaching sit in there and complain about the cold when the air conditioner is on. In another part of the school I'm running around juggling monkeys (my secret method of retaining my student's interest in my lessons) and teaching a bunch of kids who are busy breathing up all the oxygen in the room.

My least favourite classroom has one air-conditioning vent and a wall of windows that barely open, but do let in the sun which heats the room up good and sweaty. Meanwhile, the sedentary teachers enjoying break-time creep out and turn off the air-conditioner that I turned on as soon as I arrived without asking anyone's permission. So I walk through the lobby and turn it back on. So they walk by and turn it off again. Rinse, lather, repeat,...and I do mean lather. I get all worked up about having to teach while I can feel sweat trickling down the small of my back. The students also like to touch me all the time (trying to distract me so I drop a monkey, I think) and this just heats me up even more. I get so cranky when I'm shvitzing. My grumpiness isn't helped either by the fact I've been rocking a brutal cold for about a week now. Fever make Jelly sad. No matter. I'm going out this morning to buy a Rottweiler to guard the air-con. I don't get why my delicate little Korean co-workers can't close the vents in the Teacher's Room or bring along a little sweater to protect their goose-bump prone bare arms. Better yet, come and teach my class so I can park myself under a fan with a good book. Now we're talking!

It's not so much reflective of the actual weather outside as it is that my co-worker's have somehow been pre-programmed to think that September 1st = End-of-Summer. There shall be no more swims at the beach. We shall wear long sleeves. We shall not enjoy the comfort of coolness under the air-conditioner. I don't really get it, but luckily Bluto's going to bite the hand off of the next person who wants to play the On-Off Game with me.


Gwen said...

I was having the same problem at my school last week! But instead of turning the aircon off, the Korean teachers were switching it to fan mode. This is even worse than the AC being off because it pumps stuffy, hot, recycled air into the rooms. Yuck! I usually avoid abusing my power as the boss, but I made sure the delicate flowers knew that climate control is my decison :-) The next day, they brought sweaters.

Bohemian in Korea said...

Know the feeling, the ladies in my office wear sleeveless blouses and light skirts. Mean while the highly out numbered guys are in shirts and ties. All summer has been the battle of the air conditioner. Good luck to you. I told all the women in my office they were getting sweaters for christmas with a tag that says do not open until June 1st.