Keeping People Calm and Cool…You’re Welcome

By Paula DuPont-Kidd

Here is a column by a PJM staff communicator, and one in an occasional feature to Plugged In.

If you watch old movies, you’ve seen the hot Southern courtroom scene where jurors and onlookers are fanning their perspiration-beaded faces. They’re wearing long, heavy clothing and barely moving. The heat itself is another actor in the scene — creating a growing undercurrent of unrest beneath the slow-moving arguments.  Time seems to stand still until the heat sparks an emotional outburst.

Heat is always the instigator, capable of making a normally cool-headed person snap. According to research presented by psychologist John Grohol of, heat waves are related to violent behavior and aggression and are associated with higher drug and alcohol abuse. Higher levels of humidity, which often accompany a heat wave, decrease concentration and increase sleepiness. High humidity is also associated with a lack of energy.

We didn’t really need research to tell us heat makes people cranky.

Fortunately, because of Willis Carrier’s 1902 invention of air conditioning, it’s difficult to imagine life without it. Thanks to all of the companies that make air conditioning work by generating, transmitting and delivering electricity, we don’t have to sweat it out.

Air conditioning makes us happier and calmer. In my opinion, air conditioning is the uncelebrated diplomat that brings peace and tranquility to the hot, bothered and stewing.

Nothing replaces bright sunshine at the beach, golf course, pool or outdoor concert. Of course it isn’t really summer unless there’s a string of sunny 90-degree days somewhere in it.

But let’s face it, we’re all just a little more tolerant of life’s challenges when we are cool and comfortable. Traffic is a little less irritating, food tastes better and people are little less edgy when the air conditioner is on.

You’re welcome.

The author is a long-time air conditioning fan and an unbiased proponent of electricity.

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