I hate seat heaters. It isn’t because they don’t work; but rather because they work that I hate them. They work too well. They allow you a level of heat that is inconstant with the outside and the entire rest of the car. My first interaction with them was about 8-9 years ago, doing field work in the summer. We had some very nice SUVs with complete “comfort and towing” packages, which of course included seat heaters. Well at first they were great fun. Nothing is funnier than turning on the passenger seat heater when the outside temperature is 90°plus and your companion is already sweating and begging for the air conditioner to work faster. Many a day would we chuckle softly as the co-pilot shifted in their seat, trying to cool down, wondering what part of their metabolism was out-of-whack, causing their front to be frosty and their back to roasting like a chuck of meat over an open flame. This of course was all great fun, watching the sweating, the shifting, the worrying, then the realization, and the violent cursing and punching outbreaks that occurred once the victim realized what was going on. The fun, of course, stopped when it happened to me. For 30 minutes I roasted, wondering why I couldn’t cool down, even with the AC blasting out 60° air. And thus began my hatred of the seat heater.
Returning to my own cars, I was happy to report that my Cadillac, the Gray Ranger, and Bluford T. all had no seat heater and cloth seats (which I believe are better in every way, but that is a different rant). So seat heaters fell out of my mind for many years. Even my first two winters in Duluth, with the Gray Ranger, I never once wished for heating element to roast my buttocks. But as I upgraded from Ranger to Rambler I found myself in possession of seat heater for first time, much to my dismay. It isn’t just the heating that I hate; it is also the undemocratic nature of the seat heater. The Rambler seats six, but there are only two seat heaters, thus any passengers in the back are automatically relegated to secondary status by some anonymous vehicle engineer working for the corporate industrial complex. Sure, whoever purchased my vehicle new could have paid for the “upgraded” seats in the back, but as a purchaser on the secondary market, that choice was taken away from me.
All of this brings me to the cause of this rant, my seat heating hatred. It all stems from what appears to be a luxury item. Oooh, how luxurious, that my ass will be warm, while the rest of me shivers, as cold air blows out for the entire ride to work. The other thing it does is cook my insides, to the point that a mild intestinal discomfit is transformed into raging internal agony in 15 minutes. Another thing is that they are only useful for about 15 minutes, even on the coldest of cold days (AKA every day in Duluth from November to March). After that point you might as well be baking hams. And watch out if anything has fallen under your seat, those heating elements will bake any type of paper to the point of emitting such a noxious smell that you must stop and search out that box of Kleenex just to make sure it isn’t actually on fire. And my biggest gripe, the seat heater makes being outside even worse. You know the concept that hot water freezes faster (because of molecular organization), well the same applies to a hot ass. The moment your toasted/roasted gluteus maximus is exposed to the outdoor air, it begins to freeze at a rate that seems incomprehensible to the rest of your body. My legs aren’t frozen, my hands aren’t frozen but in the 300 feet from my car to the building, somehow my butt has become a buttcicle; quite a awkward fact when you work in an office, sitting on said butt all day. Well that is enough ranting about nothing for today.