April 04, 2008


9:30 Friday night, just settling down in bed to watch Good Night and Good Luck in my underwear... and it occurs to me that I think I left my foot heater on at work.

You know, the foot heater I'm not supposed to have? The kind of old funky one that I don't trust to have any kind of auto-off function?

The one I really, really should not trust not to burn down my office overnight?

  • Option A: get out of bed, put pants on, take train downtown, walk to campus, let self into empty building, unplug heater, come all the way back.
  • Option B: call campus security and ask them to turn it off, get in trouble for having foot heater which is strictly disallowed in case I, for instance, leave it on on a Friday night after I've gone home.
  • Option C: leave it until tomorrow and spend all night having nightmares about burning down the graduate school.
Posted by dianna at April 4, 2008 09:30 PM

Unintentional movie title coincidence?

Posted by: Elliot at April 5, 2008 12:18 AM

It must be, because it's not an intentional movie title coincidence. Are you referring to its applicability to a late-night heater-turning-off expedition, or its rhyming with my post title? Or the fact that I managed to type the words "good luck in my underwear" without being amused by them until almost 3 hours later?

Posted by: Dianna at April 5, 2008 12:26 AM

A possible word of reassurance: it was on all day while you were at work, right? And it didn't spontaneously burst into flames. It doesn't know whether you're sitting at your desk or not.

Posted by: Ping at April 5, 2008 01:21 AM

But what if it did know? What if it has a tiny electric loneliness sensor and knows when it's been abandoned? I know I'd burst into flames if I were turned on and then left behind.

Anyway, I don't normally leave it on for more than an hour or two and I wasn't sure how long it could be expected to sit there happily heating before it might do something else. So I chose option A and had a lovely night's sleep untroubled by fire-related dreams.

Posted by: Dianna at April 5, 2008 10:10 AM

This strikes me as exactly the sort of thing I would do, except that once I'd gotten all the way back to work and checked the space heater I'd discover that I hadn't left it plugged in, after all.

Posted by: MoltenBoron at April 5, 2008 10:55 AM

I was half-expecting to find that! I was actually very pleased with myself when I got to the office and discovered that I had, in fact, left it on and it was heating up the carpet and my computer. This was part of why I had to choose either A or C, because what if I asked security to check it out and never heard back about whether it had been on or not? It would drive me crazy. Twitch.

This is the same girl who just found herself totally unable to get out of the shower until she'd found every single place where the edges of the wide border tiles line up perfectly with the edges of the narrow flat tiles around the shower walls. Twitch. Twitch.

Posted by: Dianna at April 5, 2008 12:27 PM

You went back to the office? Last night or today?

If it was last night, then you probably don't want to hear that I'm with Ping re: the heater being unlikely to burn the building down when you're not there if it hasn't done it when you are.

Posted by: katie at April 5, 2008 11:10 PM

Speaking as somebody who would have gone in to check the thing even if I was only 40% sure I left it plugged in, I feel it necessary to stand up for going out of your way to satisfy neuroses. They must have made the rule banning space-heaters for a reason! Maybe the present Portland State is built on top of the rubble of a previous campus that was burned down in the Great Space Heater Fire of Ought-Six, when Zechariah Shaw left his kerosene-powered foot-warmer running over the weekend.

Speaking of all this, you know what I'm glad that I'm not? OCD. I dated somebody for a while who had OCD. She described it as being unable to turn off the switch in her brain that indicated that certain tasks had been done. So, as an example, she'd brush her teeth in the morning, then go back to the bathroom a dozen times before leaving the house to make sure she'd turned the faucet off, then she'd be thinking about the sink all day and worrying that she'd left the water running.

So that's why I've stopped describing myself jokingly as OCD just because I happen to like making sure my books and DVDs are alphabetized.

Posted by: MoltenBoron at April 5, 2008 11:29 PM

Katie and Ping, you're missing my perfectly good excuse for being worried: having never tried running the thing for 20 hours continuously before, or even anything over 2 hours continuously, I didn't know if it had some kind of critical overheat point. It's a seriously old and sketchy piece of equipment -- unpolarized plug, weird 1970-cutting-edge alloy surface, carpet-contact-maximizing design. Ain't trustin' it noway.

Anyway, Zach's got his finger perfectly on the major issue here. The actual odds of office burnination weren't nearly as much of a problem as my peace of mind; going and checking at 9:30 meant not being worried about it at 4 am. Totally worth it.

Posted by: Dianna at April 6, 2008 07:36 PM