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View Full Version : Europeans, are you afraid of cross-breezes?


Kyla
02-15-2009, 11:12 PM
This subject came up in this thread (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=506657) and rather than hijacking it any further, I'm opening a new thread.

I am curious about how widely spread this belief is. In case you aren't familiar with it, in parts of Europe (maybe just SE/E Europe?) there is a belief that cross-breezes will make you sick. My only personal experience with this belief is in Bulgaria, where it's called techenie. You can open a door, or you can open a window, but if you open them BOTH (even on a hot day), you have techenie and will become sick. This is not a superstition, it is a genuinely held belief by people of all ages.

Is this ringing any bells with you?

Sonnenstrahl
02-15-2009, 11:17 PM
I assume it's mainly an old-people thing, but my grandmother, who's from Poland, believes the same thing. The unfortunate thing is that my father believes her to be the last authority on all things medical :rolleyes: and when I was young I would throw up in the car if I had to go anywhere with them because they would close all the windows in 30 degree weather.

The most she would do in her house was open the back door - never that and a window.

Maastricht
02-15-2009, 11:18 PM
Dutch here.

Oh yes. Chronic cross breezes, or drafts (in Dutch: " tocht") are irritating and annoying, and they can make your neck stiff. If they increase your chances of catching a cold, I'm not sure, but it is certainly commonly believed.

Bear in mind almost no-one here has air conditioning, so opening windows is a necessity. And drafts are a side-effect.

Johnny L.A.
02-15-2009, 11:22 PM
Huh. As a former desert-dweller, cross-breezes were essential.

Celyn
02-15-2009, 11:26 PM
How odd. I'd have thought that the "cross breeze" would be a pretty good thing. So, no, I don't think we have that superstition in Britain.

Maastricht
02-15-2009, 11:34 PM
Well, there's a difference between a breeze in the house, and a draft. I'm not really sure what the difference is, but it is there. I guess cross breeze is a breeze you intentionally created and intentionally enjoy, while a draft is an insidious thing that leaves you cold and stiff necked.

Outside temperature has nothing to do with it: I have heard people complain of drafts on hot days, when in the same office other people begged for windows to be opened.

Gary T
02-15-2009, 11:56 PM
This is not a superstition, it is a genuinely held belief by people of all ages.Not sure what you're using for a definition of "superstition," but the fact that it's a genuinely held belief in no way disqualifies it as one.

DMark
02-16-2009, 12:08 AM
This belief is very widespread in Germany!
We Americans found it quite funny.

An American woman I knew married a German guy (they were both in their 20's) and had just moved into their new apartment. It had windows on both sides of the apartment, so one hot summer night, during a party, the American woman opened both windows. She told me people started screaming, "Es zieht! Es zieht!!" (There is a draft!) and lunged towards one of the windows to stop the dreaded passing of air through a hot, smoky, humid room. The American woman just muttered, "In the US, you pay more for an apartment with a breeze..."

Even today, Germans who visit me here in the US freak out when there is so much as a puff of air moving from one window to the next.

Very odd, but common with Germans of all ages.

Erdosain
02-16-2009, 12:11 AM
I had already answered in the other thread, but I wanted to chime in that it is a common belief in Italy, even on the most miserably hot days.

Only tangentially related, but I had an Italian teacher in high school with whom I had some back and forth on this topic. One day we were walking back from a field trip and it started to rain. Most people ran for it, but I decided just to get soaked and enjoy the walk. When she saw me, she tutted and said, "Oh, Erdosain, you're going to get sick getting wet like that." I responded as only a snotty 17-year-old know-it-all would and said, "Germs make you sick, Mrs. XXXX, not rain."

Next day? I was fucking sick.

I think there are a lot of weird cultural beliefs like this. For example, in Argentina, a lot of people thought eating watermelon and drinking milk together was tantamount to poisoning yourself. I'm sure there are some weird American beliefs, I just can't think of any right now...

Springtime for Spacers
02-16-2009, 12:12 AM
Not sure what you're using for a definition of "superstition," but the fact that it's a genuinely held belief in no way disqualifies it as one.


I think it's an old wive's tale rather than a superstition as it doesn't rely on magical beliefs, frex if they said that cold imps rode on the cross breezes.

Having seen DMarks' post we don't like draughts on cold days in England but I've never heard anyone complain about opeing multiple apertures on a hot day (when we have them).

Tanaqui
02-16-2009, 02:13 AM
I think there are a lot of weird cultural beliefs like this. For example, in Argentina, a lot of people thought eating watermelon and drinking milk together was tantamount to poisoning yourself. I'm sure there are some weird American beliefs, I just can't think of any right now...I've heard that there is a belief among some in South Korea that sleeping with a fan on in a closed room will kill you deader than a doorknob.

I think these kinds of superstitions/old wives tales are so interesting! Makes me wonder how much of the stuff that I "just know" is wrong.

Koxinga
02-16-2009, 02:29 AM
It may just be my wife's family, but they all insist on opening doors and windows on cold drafty days, with bone chilling cross breezes all over the place. (This is in Taiwan.) Never mind that houses and apartments aren't very well insulated to begin with here: my wife is convinced that if all the doors and windows are shut at the same time, we'll all suffocate from a gas leak.

On the other hand, people *do* suffocate in closed rooms here occasionally, sometimes from having an open charcoal stove warming up the room while they're sleeping. But I attribute that to the idiotic local approach to household safety that I've complained about before (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=504686). I'm not afraid to say it: sometimes local culture is just stupid.

Marienee
02-16-2009, 02:34 AM
Dutch here.

Oh yes. Chronic cross breezes, or drafts (in Dutch: " tocht") are irritating and annoying, and they can make your neck stiff. If they increase your chances of catching a cold, I'm not sure, but it is certainly commonly believed.
.

The difference between a "tocht" and "ventilatie" is that one is baffled and the other is not. Or at least that is my tentative conclusion after some years of trying to convince my relations that cross ventilation is a positive thing.

That is, in my house anyway, the doors and windows are arranged in such a way that cross ventilation is not easily possible. Interior doors and windows are placed to block cross ventilation.

Apparently the prescribed 15 minutes of daily airing is to be carried out room by room, or at least with interior doors closed. Which I think is entirely mad, but I grew up in the American South where cross ventilation is mandatory (less so nowadays since everyone has airco).

Finally I told my beloved mother in law that I recently read in the paper that, at least in the United States, they were considering going to the germ theory of illness and abandoned the notion of humors altogether. She laughed her ass off and quit fighting me on the ventilation thing.

But we had to close all the interior doors again when her friends came over. They wouldn't understand, you see....

Timchik
02-16-2009, 02:44 AM
Ahhh! the dreaded сквозняк [svoznyak]! as I used to call it when I lived in Moscow.
Every. Single. Russian. I've ever known, educated or illiterate, was convinced that a cross-breeze was a guaranteed bout of pneumonia just waiting to happen. Doesn't matter what the temperature is, if there was air moving between two windows (even in different rooms!), it's death. Fans are fine. Air conditioners? No problem. Gentle breeze when you're outdoors? How refreshing! But get air moving in an enclosed space due to two openings in different walls, and you might as well check into the hospital right now.
In fact, I associated it so strongly with the Russian mentality that I was shocked later to learn how widespread the belief was in Germany as well. And now the Dutch?

footballisplayedwithyourfeet
02-16-2009, 03:17 AM
Actually, I just moved into my sisters appartment (while she is working overseas) and before she left she told me I should wear something around my neck (scarf or something) because there is a slight draft. I of course looked at her strangly and did nothing of the sort, but I must say that after living theer for 10 days, I've developed quite a sore throat...

Rayne Man
02-16-2009, 05:13 AM
On a recent visit to Bratislava our guide-book warned about this regarding bus travel. The book said that if you ever have the temerity to open a window you will be met by disapproving looks from the rest of the passengers.

in hiding
02-16-2009, 07:15 AM
"Es zieht!" :D

Very true, but in my experience it really only applies if there is a cold, unpleasant draft in the room. If it's hot, nobody will complain.

Butterscotch
02-16-2009, 08:56 AM
The dreaded ' corrente'. Yes, here in Italy having any kind of draught in a room spells dire consequences. You may get 'cervicale' which is a particular kind of sore neck, or even the 'colpa di strega' (because of the witch), same thing... Sitting under an air conditioner on public transport causes the same problem... I have had parents come in the classroom on a 30 degree centigrade day to shut the door because I had windows open.
While we're on the subject, these parents ask us not to let the children run too much in winter because they are wearing many layers and get hot. You know that if they sweat they will get sick. Not to mention the dad who said that his son should be allowed a bottle to drink from because he isn't very good with a cup ( at three years old...) and he spills water down the front of his sweater, this is why he has such a bad cough... Sleeping with your hair still wet, or heaven forfend, going outside with it wet will cause all manner of headaches and colds. Heard it all since being here, I really have... As an English person I find all very odd, we don't have all this worry about breezes and sweating in cold weather.

Kyla
02-16-2009, 09:19 AM
Not sure what you're using for a definition of "superstition," but the fact that it's a genuinely held belief in no way disqualifies it as one.

Well, in my mind a superstition is something people don't REALLY believe, like stepping on a crack will break your mother's back or that breaking a mirror will make you unlucky. Bulgarians REALLY REALLY believe that the techenie will make you sick.

Like Marienee, I tried to bring up the germ theory of disease, but the Bulgarians still didn't believe me. (Not a surprise, considering that they also believe that rakia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rakia) cures all illnesses.)

puppygod
02-16-2009, 10:28 AM
Oh yes, although it seems to be dying slowly. In Polish it's called "przeciąg". It was really common belief, say, fifty years ago - both my Grandmas were living in constant fear of keeping two windows open. My Mom often warned me about drafts when I was kid, but over time she seems to eased. I never truly seen them as something other than just wind, only indoors.

tagos
02-16-2009, 10:43 AM
On a recent visit to Bratislava our guide-book warned about this regarding bus travel. The book said that if you ever have the temerity to open a window you will be met by disapproving looks from the rest of the passengers.

Because while you are getting a cooling breeze those of us further back are freezing to death in the 60 mph slipstream.

Rayne Man
02-16-2009, 10:51 AM
Because while you are getting a cooling breeze those of us further back are freezing to death in the 60 mph slipstream.

Surely not on an urban bus that's doing probably 20mph on a hot summer's day.

Huerta88
02-16-2009, 11:04 AM
Chiming in to slam the Asians. Having noted the interesting comment from Taiwan (but Taiwan is usually hotter than Hell IMLE), most if not all Japanese and Chinese of my acquaintance have a mortal fear of moving air. Even when they can be brought to raise the air conditioning to a reasonably appropriate temperature (IME the average Japanese business has its AC set to about 81 in August), they will not tolerate any circulation of said air, so it feels even more stagnant and stifling than the temperature would suggest. Anecdotal evidence suggests that they too are motivated by fear of dread disease and distemperment that will ensue if moving air touches you. Japanese ladies will enter said 81 degree rooms wearing sweaters and carrying lap blankets.

tagos
02-16-2009, 11:04 AM
Surely not on an urban bus that's doing probably 20mph on a hot summer's day.

Maybe not 20 mph but I travel by bus almost daily from work and I'm sick of selfish fuckers opening the window above their head, uncaring of the hurricane created further back.

But then again i do work at a university and this generation of students do appear to have been born in a barn.

FallenAngel
02-16-2009, 11:17 AM
My mother was from Tennessee and she was utterly convinced that if you were to go outside with damp hair on a cool evening you'd catch pneumonia. The same thing would happen if your shoes and socks got damp.

schnuckiputzi
02-16-2009, 06:14 PM
All my German/Amish relatives would go apeshit if there was a draft. Close the door! Windows can be open a crack, but there must be NO cross-ventilation!!

Green Cymbeline
02-17-2009, 12:22 AM
What is their explanation for this belief? How does an educated, intelligent person, who understands and believes in modern science, explain this belief? This is truly bizarre.

suranyi
02-17-2009, 12:47 AM
My Hungarian-born, highly educated father forbid us from opening windows on both sides of the car at the same time for this reason.

Ed

Doody Pants*
02-17-2009, 06:28 AM
My grandmother, who was born and raised here in the US, lives in mortal fear of a draft. No matter where she goes, if there is a window opened the slightest crack, or a vent that may have air conditioning coming out of it, she can't be anywhere near it. Also, she flips out if the windows are opened in the car. This summer, I had to drive her somewhere and it was about 90 degrees out. She only let me open the window about an inch on her side. I had my side all the way down because the minivan we were in had no AC and I was about to burst into flames. We sweltered the whole trip and I was not in the greatest mood when we got to our destination.

The ridiculous fear of drafts always made me crazy. Now, even at 35, I feel like I am bucking the system when I go out with wet hair or drive with all the windows open.

I'm surprised to read that young people carry on the fear of drafts. I always assumed it was an old lady thing.

si_blakely
02-17-2009, 08:12 AM
I am reminded of the story of an american who purchased an english stately home. He loved the place, but found the main room unbearably drafty. So he spend the summer fitting draft excluders, sealing the windows, and arranging drapes until all the drafts were gone. By now, it was getting on for winter, and on a cold night, he decided to light the open fire to warm the room. But nothing he could do would make the fire burn - the room just filled with smoke and the fire would die out.

In desperation, he called his neighbour, who popped over. "You go and make a cup of tea, and I'll sort this out," said the neighbour. By the time the homeowner had returned, the fire was blazing, there was no smoke and all was well. And the draft excluders had been removed from the doors, the window was open slightly, and the rearranged drapes moved to restore the room to its original drafty state.

Si

Kyla
02-17-2009, 09:43 AM
This has been a very eye-opening thread. I really strongly associated this with the Bulgarian mindset and it's strange to realize how widespread this idea is. Thanks, y'all.

Anaamika
02-17-2009, 10:05 AM
Indians, too, and it's fucking hot in India. AC breezes are OK. Fan breezes are OK. Cross breezes are NOT. I hated it when I was there - those breezes felt SO nice!

Lobsang
02-17-2009, 10:29 AM
As odd beliefs go, this is an odd beleif.

The closest I can think of to it is the switch in the belief that a sea-breeze is good for you to being that a sea breeze is bad for you (contains rotting seaweed)

Edit: Correction: Doesn't contain actual rotting seaweed (that'd have to be one hell of a windy and unpleasant day). Rotting seaweed fumes.

Add99
02-17-2009, 11:10 AM
Of course, without a fan timer you will die.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fan_death

Lobsang
02-17-2009, 11:20 AM
Of course, without a fan timer you will die.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fan_death

I should be dead by now.

chacoguy
02-17-2009, 11:32 AM
How would they feel about being in one of these buildings?
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/119/298528033_d0ce6b93e2_o.jpg

http://lh4.ggpht.com/_pV85ummeVrc/RmOVgWk3wSI/AAAAAAAACMg/XaIWmxPilDg/IMG_5106.JPG
http://tour.airstreamlife.com/weblog/Frybread%20stand.jpg

Neverending Elbow
02-17-2009, 11:35 AM
Hmm, well it's not that easy to answer. In Poland drafts are generally seen as a bad thing, and yes, everytime I was told to close the window/door (whichever was causing the 'przeciąg') it came with a warning about getting sick. But I always connected it with the more general "cold will make you sick", which is also the source and cause of warnings about sitting around with wet hair, going out in the winter without appropriate clothes (or, more accurately, what the admonishing person thinks is appropriate) or even standing for too long in front of an open fridge. I honestly never got the feeling that the draft itself, without being cold, can make you sick.

By the way, I believe I read that while being cold will not make you sick on its own, it can weaken your body's defences and make it easier for opportunist germs to carry out a succesful invasion - any truth to this?

Kalhoun
02-17-2009, 11:38 AM
This is just too weird. My mother in law came here from Germany as a little kid. I'll have to ask her if Oma was off the beam with regard to cross-breezes.

The closest I've ever come to anything like this was when I was having a pair of leather pants made by some biker chick in Fuckin' HOT Wisconsin.

I had to hang out at her house while she did the final sizing and sewing. It was like 105 degrees and they wouldn't open any windows (and had no AC). They thought the house would get even hotter. I was there for about 4 hours and I thought I'd freekin' die. It had to be over 100 degrees in the house.

Earl Snake-Hips Tucker
02-17-2009, 11:57 AM
By the way, I believe I read that while being cold will not make you sick on its own, it can weaken your body's defences and make it easier for opportunist germs to carry out a succesful invasion - any truth to this?
pssst! This is better suited for GQ
Having said that, here (http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/997/why-is-winter-the-season-for-colds-flu-etc) are a few words on colds from the Master.

You'd think, though, if cold weather lowered body resistance, that there'd be a spike in all diseases during the winter months. Doesn't seem to be the case, though.

Moscow Discow
02-17-2009, 04:56 PM
Not exactly on topic, but I lived in China for awhile and tutored a South Korean businessman in English a few days a week. One day "fan death" came up and he was completely astounded that it wasn't something we worried about in the States; he'd even read explanations of the "science" behind it in the newspapers, he said. We ended up getting totally derailed while I tried to explain to him that, if fan death were real, my state (Oklahoma) would have a population of about six.

Mangetout
02-17-2009, 06:35 PM
(UK) Never heard of it. I do sometimes try to avoid opening opposite doors and/or windows if there's a risk that the breeze will slam them about, but that's a purely practical measure.

John DiFool
02-17-2009, 08:16 PM
Only tangentially related, but I had an Italian teacher in high school with whom I had some back and forth on this topic. One day we were walking back from a field trip and it started to rain. Most people ran for it, but I decided just to get soaked and enjoy the walk. When she saw me, she tutted and said, "Oh, Erdosain, you're going to get sick getting wet like that." I responded as only a snotty 17-year-old know-it-all would and said, "Germs make you sick, Mrs. XXXX, not rain."

Next day? I was fucking sick.

I've (American) generally loved cross-breezes, as it really refreshes the house. But last year I was kind of tired of the stale air in my apartment, and, seeing as there was a nice 70 degree (F) breeze outside, I decided to open the windows and let some fresh air in.

3 hours later I was beset with one of the worst attacks of the chills I've ever had, and felt like absolute crap for the next 4 days. Now correlation doesn't necessarily = causation (as in I may have already contracted something beforehand), but make of that what you will.

Celyn
02-17-2009, 10:00 PM
I suppose it all comes down to just how cross the breeze happens to be that day. When it's *really* grumpy , you'd know to be careful. :)

bouv
02-17-2009, 11:00 PM
Not exactly on topic, but I lived in China for awhile and tutored a South Korean businessman in English a few days a week. One day "fan death" came up and he was completely astounded that it wasn't something we worried about in the States; he'd even read explanations of the "science" behind it in the newspapers, he said. We ended up getting totally derailed while I tried to explain to him that, if fan death were real, my state (Oklahoma) would have a population of about six.

Fan death is something I find odder than the "cross breeze" thing, if only because they actually think it will kill you, not just make you sick. The worst part is that doctors, scientists, and engineers in Korea, China, Japan, and other parts of Asia this has spread to believe in it too! I mean...these are people that know about physiology and/or thermodynamics, and should know better, but most of them believe it and continue to warn about the "dangers" of a fan being in a room while you're asleep.

flyboy
02-18-2009, 07:39 AM
I can't count how many times in Japan I've crawled back to my hotel room, fantasizing about some shut-eye after a 15-hour day, middle of summer, no air conditioning, and the f*cking maid has closed the goddam windows. Then I have to spend the next two hours opening windows, opening the door, strategically placing fans, sticking my head in the freezer, and waiting for it to get not hot enough to sleep. Happens in Russia all the time, too, even in winter, where they like to superheat your room with radiators you cannot turn off or down.

I live for the crossbreeze and the slow death of people that believe otherwise.

Colophon
02-18-2009, 08:12 AM
I have never heard of this in the UK either. In fact there seems to be more of a fear of houses being "stuffy". As soon as the temperature noses above about 55 degrees (Fahrenheit), my relatives tend to fling open any available window to "get some fresh air in".

Celyn
02-18-2009, 08:30 AM
I have never heard of this in the UK either. In fact there seems to be more of a fear of houses being "stuffy". ..


That sounds about right to me too.

Earl Snake-Hips Tucker
02-18-2009, 08:55 AM
I lived in China for awhile and tutored a South Korean businessman in English a few days a week. One day "fan death" came up and he was completely astounded that it wasn't something we worried about in the States; he'd even read explanations of the "science" behind it in the newspapers, he said.

Wiki article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fan_death) on fan deaths, with a reference back to the Dope. It contains the science behind fan deaths, and the government's position on taking precautions against them.

JKellyMap
02-18-2009, 11:39 AM
Widespread myth in Mexico, especially among older folks. I assume it was imported from Spain.

Nava
02-18-2009, 12:00 PM
In Spain it is not about having "cross-breezes"... how the heck are you supposed to ventilate the house if not by opening every openable item the architect put in? When it's been 40ºC in the shadow all day long, it's gone down to a blessed 35ºC at night and you don't have A/C, the only reason you don't take a hammer to the walls is the need to close them back when the sun returns!

But you're not supposed to stand or sit in the breeze thus created for long, or to go out of the house into a cold day with your hair wet (considered a possible cause for "head colds").

People who know perfectly well about the existence of viruses still reckon that well, it's still a better idea to not give your body any temperature shocks if you can help them, aye? After all, chilblains and "cut digestion" (1) are caused by sudden changes in temperature, aye? Bugs are more likely to breed in specific conditions and, since no doctor has proved that standing in the breeze with your head cold does not increase the risk of getting a cold, assume that the old wives' hypothesis works, aye?

Note: the PhD thesis of a friend of mine carried, among others, the consequence of proving scientifically that a lot of "rules of thumb" or "old farmer's ways" which a certain brand of "scientists" despised as unproven-therefore-unscientific do work. If it's so with fruit trees, it may be so with other things, is the line of thought.

1: "corte de digestión" may happen when you eat something, wait long enough for digestion to begin and then jump into a cold pool. Chills, cramps, throwing up and generally needing rescue. It's not a medical term, as a matter of fact docs get angry when they hear people use it, but hey... it does happen, duh! Who cares whether the technical term is "hyposomethingorother"!

JKellyMap
02-18-2009, 12:31 PM
1: "corte de digestión" may happen when you eat something, wait long enough for digestion to begin and then jump into a cold pool. Chills, cramps, throwing up and generally needing rescue. It's not a medical term, as a matter of fact docs get angry when they hear people use it, but hey... it does happen, duh! Who cares whether the technical term is "hyposomethingorother"!

Interesting. That explains the myth even more widespread in Mexico, even among some younger people, that you shouldn't drink a cold beverage if you've been sweating on a hot day, unless you allow your body to cool down first.

slaphead
02-19-2009, 03:25 AM
So, no, I don't think we have that superstition in Britain.
Oh, I dunno. My grandparents were pretty strong on the whole subject of 'drafts' and the evil consequences thereof. Mind you they also thought a small gas fire on low was perfectly adequate for heating the living room of a large victorian apartment (room half the size of a tennis court with ten-foot ceilings, huge original windows and no insulation). A draft will kill you but watching TV in a room at 10c is just fine. :dubious:
It may be that the fear of drafts/cross-breezes is closely associated with listening too much to batty old relatives.

Butterscotch
02-19-2009, 05:06 AM
Interesting. That explains the myth even more widespread in Mexico, even among some younger people, that you shouldn't drink a cold beverage if you've been sweating on a hot day, unless you allow your body to cool down first.

Yes! This in Italy as well. You should never drink something straight from the fridge on a hot day. You have to let it warm up a little before you drink or else terrible things will happen in your stomach and you will be very violently ill.

However, there is not the same taboo regarding ice cream...

Nava
02-19-2009, 05:10 AM
Interesting. That explains the myth even more widespread in Mexico, even among some younger people, that you shouldn't drink a cold beverage if you've been sweating on a hot day, unless you allow your body to cool down first.

Actually, that's traditionally considered to be the cause of death for Phillip I "the beautiful", the husband of Juana la Loca, son-in-law of Their Catholic Majesties and daddy of Emperor Charles V.

He'd been playing pelota mano (think squash with no paddles and only two walls), was sweating heavily, took a drink of very-cold, just-off-the-river water, got pneumonia and died in a couple days. Of course, the COD is more likely to be that the freshly-off-the-river water carried enough bugs to make a plowhorse sick...

flodnak
02-19-2009, 05:33 AM
Here in Troll Country, I've been warned about a cold draft causing a stiff neck, usually by people who know that I have problems with stress headaches anyway. I guess they think I'm more vulnerable to this phenomenon than normal people, since the muscles of my neck are already out to kill me.

However, Norskies are also firm believers in "airing out" a home from time to time even in the depths of winter, and when the warm weather comes they will open every window and door they can. So no general fear of cross-breezes, no.

aruvqan
02-19-2009, 06:04 AM
Hm, my mom and dad both were raised to have the window open a little while sleeping, winter or summer. Mom is Iowa plattsdeutsch [amish/mennonite] and my dad was whitebread WASP with a german nanny and I had a german nanny.

I happen to like the bedroom to be ice cold, and a toasty warm bed with lots of fluffy comforters. Drives mrAru nuts as he is always freezing in the winter at night and wanting to shut the windows ... *sigh*

My family also were the type to open the windows during the day to air out the house. My grandmothers maids always opened the windows in the day to air out the house as well, and the summer cottage had a sleeping porch - screened in, beds for my father and both uncles, and a couple of spares [one would assume for visiting friends and cousins] and the house in town had a screened in sleeping porch unpstairs of a screened in day porch on the ground floor.

I dont think my grandparents were of the same value nuttiness of Kellog as seen in the Road to Wellsville, but they definitely valued fresh air of whatever temperature...

Moscow Discow
02-19-2009, 01:40 PM
bouv, I also was surprised at the prevalence of the very sincere belief in fan death. My student was a well-educated guy who managed a large logistics company but apparently had never given much thought to how the dreaded electric fan actually went about killing people. I couldn't get anything more specific out of him than something vague about oxygen (the idea that fans create some kind of "vortex" that sucks the oxygen out of the room is mentioned in the Wiki article linked, I bet that's what he was thinking of) and he looked at me like I had two heads when I told him I'd slept in a room with a fan running since I was a toddler.

Avoiding cold drinks when it's cold outside is also very common in China. There was a small restaurant at the bottom of the international dorm where I lived and it took us months to convince them to keep a cooler plugged in so we could have something other than tepid Diet Coke on a 90F day. I could never get a very good explanation for that one.

Eva Luna
02-19-2009, 03:07 PM
When I was studying in Leningrad in 1989, I came down with a violent case of food poisoning. I was so sick that I lost my ability to stand up while on the bus to class; I literally had to lie down on the sidewalk until two classmates managed to hail a cab to take me back to the dorm. It was gone within 24 hours, after my body purged itself of whatever I'd eaten (I'll spare you the gory details). I've never been THAT sick to my stomach before or since.

When my classmates dragged me into my dorm room, my Soviet roommates insisted that it was because I'd removed my lumpy, sagging mattress from the even saggier bedframe to use, futon-style, on the floor, in hopes of not completely screwing up my back. They would also yell at me whenever I would walk around in the dorm room in socks, or (God forbid) bare feet. Apparently to allow one's body in such close proximity to the floor is to risk dire illness or possibly death. Didn't matter if it was 85 degrees in the room and I was sweating. (Soviet dorm heating was notoriously erratic; it could be tropical, and the next day, you could see your breath.)

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