Thursday, May 1, 2008

Windows People Are From Mars, A/C People Are From Venus


If you are not familiar with the terms "Windows People" and "A/C People" please revisit my 25 Feb. entry. As a super-quick shorthand, suffice it to say that Windows People tend to be Humanities/Social Science majors who see the world in very imprecise, fluid terms, whereas A/C People tend to be engineering and hard science majors who are more rigid thinkers. The terms are derived from whether, on a hot day, people would rather a) crack open the window and feel the outside air, or b) blast the A/C. Don't over-literalize the derivation -- if you do, you're completely missing the point.

In one of his final works, "Timequake," the late Kurt Vonnegut (the quintessential Windows Person) talks about how his more A/C-oriented wife, Jill Krementz, could not understand his habit of walking to the corner store for postage and an envelope every time he had to mail a letter.

I don't have the text handy, but I'll paraphrase (sorry, Kurt). She told him, "Honey, this makes no sense. You have plenty of money. You can certainly afford to make one trip to an office supply or stationery store and buy tons of envelopes and stamps. But you insist on making the separate trip on foot each time. It just doesn't seem logical."

Technically, she was right. Yes, he could have made one trip to CVS or Staples instead of making the effort each time. Yes, it would be more logical, and yes, it would've been more efficient.

As a dyed-in-the-wool Windows Person, I have to concede a major point to the A/C types -- you guys usually are right. Sometimes you annoy me by being hyper-logical and/or hyper-efficient, but yes, if I really stop and think about it, your way of doing business often makes more sense.

But both types need one another. Together, they make the world work because they're mutually complementary.

Windows People bring you most of the entertainment you enjoy. They write things that make you laugh, like "Family Guy," "The Simpsons," and "South Park." They sing most of the songs you hear on the radio. They run some of the highest echelons of our government and our businesses. They write the books you bring to the beach.

But none of them would be anywhere without the A/C types. In fact, if we didn't have A/C People, nothing would really work and our society would fail. Too many deadlines would be missed, too many corners would be cut, and technological advances would never be made. We'd have no bridges, no Internet, and, well, we'd have no central air to carry us through those weather extremes. We'd have no advanced medicine, no high-tech weaponry to protect us, and no reliable means through which to communicate with our friends and relatives.

I wouldn't want that world.

Besides, there'd be no one there to tell me that I'd just spilled soup all over my shirt.