Daily Archives: August 16, 2011

Life Lessons from the Library: Mom Was Right, Take a Sweater

The air conditioning will be going off sometime this week in the library. We thought yesterday, so we came to work in the lightest clothes we could find. But the air conditioning was working fine; in fact, it seemed to be in some type of overdrive. I had to go outside more than once just to warm up enough to continue working.

I couldn’t help but be reminded of my mother’s constant warning when I was a kid: “Take a sweater. You don’t know what the temperature is going to be at the (fill in the blank).”

And she was right. If small things can increase happiness and research suggests they can, then, for me, it’s being comfortable. And while I don’t like being too warm, at least I can proceed with my work in such conditions. But when it gets too cold, I can barely pay attention. Meetings become unbearable; all I can think about is rubbing some heat into my arms.

One horrendous, hot summer in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, I would take my bike each morning to Morgan Hall where I had class. Running into the bathroom before class started, I would take off my tank top and shorts and slip on jeans and a long-sleeved shirt. Then I’d go to class and be able to pay attention in the cold room. After class, I’d return to the bathroom and put on the shorts again for the ride home.

I thought I had learned my lesson, but yesterday reminded me that I had not. So today, I brought a jacket and it will remain in my office for those unexpected cold days.

Even at my age, it’s good to remember, Mom was usually right.