31 August 2008

You Have Been Air Conditioned



Canada: super-cooled in summer

Canada makes me feel very European. Obviously I haven’t, for example, understand air-conditioning. I haven’t understood its need to run 24 hours a day regardless of the weather outside. Nor have I understood why the benefits of a reliable 18.5°C room temperature so outweigh the annoyance of the rattle and hum of a wall-mounted air-conditioner.

Here’s a recording of the beige-box installed in every single room of the otherwise very comfortable Montréal hotel I recently stayed in:

Press play to growl

The machine’s behaviour was editable via a small digital thermostat mounted on the opposite wall. But it’s four different operating modes did lead me on an exasperating search for the well hidden “Off” function. Imaginging this thing suddenly roaring in to life at 3am amuses me no end: I’m used to Berlin tennant’s rights where an involuntary acoustic disturbance of this magnitude would be solid legal basis for dropping the rent by up to 30%.

Meanwhile, every floor of the hotel, conveniently, had its own ice machine tucked away in its own ice machine room. Not only did the door leading to this room have it own cute little frosty-ice-cube sign, differentiating it from, say, a toilet, but the door was left open, presumably allowing guests to locate the machine by sound alone. Useful at 3am for example, when the guest has been awakened by the air-conditioning machine, and has developed an understandable craving for ice cubes, and must locate the contraption in darkened coridors.

Awe-struck, I managed to film this machine before a splitting headache drove me to the lobby in the search of painkillers, a monogramed scarf and a hot mug of cocoa.

In the lobby I didn’t quite find what I was looking for. But I couldn’t help noticing the thoughtful inclusion of a fake, electrically powered, “wood-burning” fireplace which helped to give the place a cosy atmosphere 24 hours a day regardless of the weather outside.

The end of the world is nigh