Plus ça change ...

Within the span of a couple of hours yesterday morning, we moved from the official 'rainy season' into summer. Some years, the transition between seasons really does happen that quickly, and so it was this year. A fairly large typhoon swept along the length of the country over the course of a few days, and as it passed each area, the dull grey curtains of rain were swept away, leaving behind clear blue skies and dry weather.

I - along with all my neighbours - opened every window as wide as it would go, and began the process of trying to get things dried out after the weeks of humid closeness. This certainly isn't the end of rain, as we will have what is known as 'yudachi' - evening showers - on more days than not during the course of the summer, but it's the end of the mugginess.

It's also the beginning of the very hot weather; we were over 35 degrees yesterday afternoon, and the ladies working here as printers have now begun their annual campaign for me to 'do something!'

As I told here just about exactly a year ago, they want me to install air conditioning, something that I really do not have any plans to do. Yes, of course I know it gets hot in here sometimes - it's summer. But our little workshop - in a north-facing room, with plenty of wide (screened) windows open to the breezes, directly overlooking a wonderfully babbly little stream - is the kind of place that most people working in chilly and sterile office environments would kill to be able to enjoy.

I myself spent my lunch hour at a little weir about 10 metres down the stream, sitting in the shallow water and teasing a dragonfly that kept coming back to inspect my toes, but they will not do this. They won't even get their feet wet; it's too ... 'yucky' for them. They want me to close all the windows tightly, install air conditioning, and create a year-round 'comfortable' environment.

Well, it's not going to happen. At least not while I'm running this place. Last year we used two swivel fans to help keep things a bit more comfortable, and yesterday I installed one more for one of the ladies who was being particularly 'swoony': "Oh, I don't think I can bear this much longer ..."

When I asked her if their home had air conditioning during the years that she was growing up - not to mention all the generations before that - she just replied with words to the effect that 'things are different these days ...'

They sure are. Everybody has got a whole lot weaker!

But they did turn the situation somewhat to their advantage during the afternoon. As we worked, one of them again asked me outright if I would be installing air conditioning soon. I (politely) replied that this was not 'in the plan' for the foreseeable future. She was quiet a moment, and then asked if I would be preparing more fans. I thought to myself, "What is she getting at?" even as I replied that I thought that we had enough of those now in the room.

But a minute later I understood what was going on when she asked a third question, "What do you think about the idea of the company keeping a selection of ice creams and cold snacks in the refrigerator ... ?" And she followed by mentioning that they recently weren't drinking much coffee (which I also supply for them) because of the heat.

I couldn't believe what I was hearing; here was an adult woman trying to pull the age-old trick that both my brother and I - any young boy, of course - used with our mother back in the day: asking a couple of 'certain to be refused' requests first, in order to soften her up for saying, "Oh, alright!" for the third question ...

There was really only one way to reply to her ...

"Oh, alright!"


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