Paul's Internet Landfill/ demons/ Warmth


Two nights ago the central heating switched off in my apartment, and my room was left without heat. My room actually has an electric heater installed, but I was fairly certain that the heater did not work (and also it was blocked by all of the junk I own) so I decided to rough out the February nights without relying on external heat.

The weather has been mild this week, so it has not been extremely cold in my room -- probably the temperature is around 10 degrees Celcius. I had little success convincing my body that it wasn't that cold, however. I spent most of my time shivering, thinking about how chilly I was, and bundling up in sweaters and blankets to conserve my body heat.

I have been in this situation a few times, both at this apartment and in others. One frigid April I spent the entire month without heat. I would leave my stove and toaster oven on most of the day to warm the room up the best I could, and then shiver in front of my computer the rest of the time. I don't enjoy being cold, especially when I am trying to sleep, so I mostly resented my situation.

As with so many other things in this life, however, I have learned a valuable lesson in gratitude from these negative experiences. I have learned that it is possible to stay warm at night by wrapping yourself in sweaters and coats and a ratty pink blanket. I have learned to appreciate the delicious warmth of a good night's sleep. Most of all, I have learned to appreciate the luxury of central heating. Many people who live in colder climates (for example India, where the temperature gets close to the freezing point at night) can't afford this expensive luxury. I understand that central heating is a huge expense that wastes a lot of resources -- it is far better to rely on personal warmth and good insulation. The joy and comfort of having a warm room is immense. Sadly, many of us do not appreciate this comfort, because our central heating usually Just Works and we don't have to do without. It's the same old story; we are so surrounded by luxury that we don't recognise our luxuries for what they are.

As for me, I am a dork. It turns out the electric heater in my room does work. My room is slowly heating up, and my fingers no longer feel numb. I am re-entering the world of comfortable luxury, but I wanted to record this moment of gratitude before it fades away and I am lulled into luxurious complacency again.