Choosing beauty over comfort in the heat of summer

“Am I allowed to move into this office?” I asked, peering into the doorway of the spacious room in the front of the building, vacant save for a lonely desk and a few large wall paintings.

Our office and sales managers looked at each other.

“You can,” was the hesitant response.

“What?” I asked. “What’s wrong with the room?”

From the doorway, in the soft light of a February afternoon in San Diego, it looked perfect. It was much roomier than my predecesor’s office, with one entire wall comprised of a floor-to-ceiling window that faced the street. This was the kind of work space that fostered productivity, with its natural lighting and blush-colored walls.

“It just gets really warm in there,” the office manager replied.

The staff had been kind enough to help me get settled into the office when I had accepted the position of editor of the Cal in early 2018. They had given me a complete tour of the building and surrounding neighborhood hotspots, provided commuting tips and even assited in spraying down my newly inherited office equipment with a lavendar scented germ killer.

But here they had paused, like wary villagers uneasy about entering a dark forrest.

I, the oblivious knight in this office fairytale, marched straight in.

Immediately, I could tell there was a rise in temperature.

Now, for a February afternoon, the gentle push of warm air actually felt quite nice.

“But imagine what that will feel like in the middle of August,” the office manager said.

“Or October,” added our sales guy.

I bit my lip. East County summers are as long as they are hot.

But the view, and the natural lighting, and the doorway that put me right across from the front desk (but conveniently out of sight of any immediate visitors who might come in unexpectedly). It was a perfect set up – how could I pass it up?

I am now two summers into my tenure in this office space. It has been a trial.

The first summer, we had no working air conditioning.

I began amending my office hours, arriving earlier so I could leave by 2 or 3 p.m. before the walls started melting.

Our secretary hung a heat monitor next to my desk meant for measuring car temperatures for your pets.

It got red very quickly.

I have learned how to beat the heat. I pull the blinds shut just before noon. I keep the lights off after 1:30 p.m. The air conditioning helps, but when it goes off at 5 p.m., I turn on the ceiling fan.

I have not once regretted my decision to choose this office. Looking out onto the bustling street corners of Magnolia and Main, the heart of El Cajon, is a joy. I love seeing the heatbeat of the city pump and swell as long summer days roll by in endless procession.

East County is the land of the eternal summer. Sure, it gets chilly now and then, and we’ll get a bit of rain on an off year. But most of us have come to terms with the warm climate of our community.

And if our readers are happy to live in these beautiful cities east of the coastal breezes, then I count myself lucky to be one of the many here who has traded a temperate climate for a gorgeous view and a place to call home.