Sunday, July 31, 2011

Why I Love Arabs

Examining a Danish hotel guest last month, I became uncomfortably aware of sweat dripping down my back. I hadn’t experienced this since the previous autumn.

Summer doesn’t arrive in Los Angeles until mid-June, and it was an average day with temperatures in the 80s. The hotel lobby and corridors felt comfortable, but a wave of hot air greeted me as the guest opened his door.

Entering, I recalled why I like Arabs so much. They appreciate air conditioning as much as Americans. Citizens of all other nations believe it spreads disease. They tolerate it as one of the perils of foreign travel, but when someone falls ill, the air conditioning stays off. Hip young hotel doctors dress in shirtsleeves, but hipness is a distant memory for me, so I wear a suit and tie. During a long summer visit, it’s debatable if I or the patient is suffering more.

I always explain that the machine that cools air in an air conditioner is identical to that in your refrigerator, and no one worries about disease from refrigerator air. This convinces no one, college graduates included.