They turned on the AC at work today. Normally I would be thrilled by this added evidence that Spring is here. Normally I would hear the hum of the AC and think, tulips, yay! But, this isn’t a normal day, (Are any of my days normal?) because I’m fairly sure the building’s HVAC system is trying to kill me.
The beautiful hum of the AC triggered, one would assume, by the presence of the glowing ball of gas in the sky, seems to only have one “on” setting; ice cave. But I was so happy to hear the AC trigger that at first I didn’t notice the nefarious plot to take me out. Then my skin started to hurt. “Must be dryness from that horrible winter.” Then my fingers turned red. “Am I allergic to my hand cream?” Then a headache and the shivers, clumsy typing fingers and a deep desire to curl up in the corner and sleep.
Did you catch all that? Shivers, red skin, clumsiness, aches and drowsiness…all symptoms of hypothermia (I checked with the Google.). Hypothermia is the perfect weapon of an air conditioning system. I’m only slurred speech and slow breathing away from a textbook case. And I’m not sure I don’t have those too because it’s totally hard to not look like a crazy person (or a secret drunk) when asking your cubicle neighbour if you’re slurring your speech. So for all I know I’m just one symptom away. (Ok, so the clumsiness may just be a hold-over from my regular life, and the headache may be attributed to my questionable decision to wear a tight ponytail today, but I’m still convinced.)
Not proof of murderous intent you say? Well, then why is the ice cave phenomenon restricted to twenty feet either side of my desk? (The hallway is possibly toasty by comparison.) I’m actually a bit sorry that colleagues on either side of me are suffering my fate, punished by proximity to me and whatever I’ve done to anger the ventilation system. Maybe I could make some sort of HVAC restitution before it’s too late.
NB. Do you think the Health and Safety person would put me on report for throwing a chair through a window?
Writing Exercise: Mapping It Out
I love the idea of mind mapping, but the other day I read a suggestion that writers make a map of their neighbourhood as inspiration. I loved the idea of drawing a map of the places you’ve lived (or are currently living), but I wanted to take it a step farther. I decided to make an experience map. (Don’t worry no actual drawing or mapping skills will be required, just stick figures and your memory.)
Get a large blank piece of paper and coloured pencils. Choose a place that has been important in your life (your childhood home), your high school, the mall you ran around as a teen, then make that the centre of your universe, or in the case the centre of your map. Draw a picture to represent the location for yourself. (Remember this is an inspiration exercise not art, so don’t spend more than a few seconds on each picture element.)
Now do a quick word association, what does that place make you think of, what experience would you label your home location with? Label your centre, then move out in circles of experience from your home. The doghouse could be “hiding from brother”. The driveway could be “skinned knee”. The tree out back could be “first kiss”. The idea is to remember the locations for their history not their physical appearance. Spend five minutes mapping out the location, and when you’re done put pen to paper and spend fifteen minutes describing one or two of experiences. Why did the experience happen there? What was the location like for you? Remember the location is the story, so bring your reader into your world. Happy writing.
NB. Here’s my example (well, half my example, the scanner isn’t cooperating). Map