Complaining: just part of human nature?

The air conditioning at the office isn’t working right now. Apparently, it’s been out since the weekend.

At work, I sit beside the break room and not terribly far from the elevators. As such, I get to hear almost everyone’s complaints about the temperature as they walk past me.

“God, it’s so hot!”

“Isn’t the air fixed yet?”

“At least it’s cooler over here; my office feels like an oven!”

And the complaints continue.

This is what puzzles me. As a species, humans are about the most able to adapt to variations in, well, just about anything. (The exception is the cockroach, since they would be able to survive a nuclear winter, while humans would not.) We can bundle up if we get too cold; we can shed layers and turn on electrical fans if we get too hot. And as I work for a company where casual is the rule and business casual is the exception, it’s not like my coworkers are forced to suffer pantyhose or 3-piece suits.

And yet the complaints persist.

Maybe it’s an American thing. When we get too uncomfortable, it’s easier to blame someone else instead of making an effort to make ourselves comfortable. We expect everything to be made just right for us, right down to the ambient temperature.

It’s kind of obnoxious, isn’t it?

I can’t imagine people everywhere complain like this. Nor can I imagine it has always been like this. I mean, there was life before central air conditioning was invented. Christ; I’m thankful for air conditioning, but I can still make do without it. People may not want to be near me if I’m sweating up a storm, but as long as I stay hydrated, I know I’ll be fine.

Just as long as the water doesn’t taste funny.


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