Thursday, January 19, 2017

It's cold


Year of Requirement Part 20

I mentioned that my home, pre-renovation, lacked air conditioning. Post renovation, it had air conditioning in the living room, but none in any of the other rooms. In winter, I had an electric space heater in my new room.

The school didn’t have climate control, either. Air conditioning consisted of an open window. It was considered rude to fan yourself during class, though everyone did it when the teacher had his back to us. This happened quite a bit because school ran into mid-July, unlike the US.

Heat came from a kerosene space heater. The duty person (it rotated through all 42 kids in the class) had to go to the custodian’s office every morning, get the plastic tank of kerosene, and fill the heater tank.

Kerosene cost money (duh). The JHS principal announced that the kerosene heaters were not to be used until January. An exception was made for the third year students, because he didn’t want them to catch cold before their entrance exams. Then my homeroom teacher said that we should follow the rules set for the other years because it wouldn’t be fair and we should be setting an example for the underclassmen, plus the cold would help us focus.

My friends from Suburbia would have probably made fun of me for complaining of the cold because it hardly ever got below freezing, but part of the problem was clothing. You could only wear the uniform, and the uniform didn’t allow for sweaters, plus I had to wear a skirt, not pants. This was in the mid 80s, so I couldn’t wear Uniqlo Heat Tech leggings with black socks and pretend they were tights, partly because they didn’t exist (I think Uniqlo was already selling clothes in Hiroshima, but it would be several more years before they became a thing), and partly because if you wore tights, they were supposed to be flesh toned. The cold turned my lips an ugly blue color, more fodder for kids disappointed that I wasn’t tall and pretty and long-haired. I spent breaks near the window trying to soak the warmth from the sunlight, which was only partially effective because it was time for the next class by the time I got warm.

Then came winter vacation and then January, and the teacher let us use the kerosene heater. It was hot near the heater and cold away from it. You hoped your seat would be near the middle of the room where the temperature was reasonable.

I found out a few years ago that the classrooms in my old JHS now have air conditioning. I am happy for the kids, but also slightly jealous.

1 comment:

Annie Crow said...

Wow. I have a hard time understanding why no sweaters or tights. The Catholic schools here (and public schools with uniforms) allow both. Cold only focuses the mind to a point - after that you're just cold. Plus it's hard to write.